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OHSAA Limits Crowds At High School Athletic Events

The limitations are meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus. [Ashton Marra / ideastream]
A waist-down shot of people playing basketball

Community members will have to watch local high school sporting events on live streams as the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) issued limitations on spectators this week in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.

All previously purchased tickets for upcoming state tournaments in wrestling, ice hockey and basketball are void, OHSAA said in a press release. Refunds will be issued for tickets that have already been purchased.

New tickets will be issued according to new guidelines, which allow for a limited number of players’ family members to attend each game.

The changes put Lorain High School in a pinch, Athletic Director Bryan Koury said, with just one day to communicate the change before a Wednesday night boys’ basketball tournament game in Akron against St. Edward High School.

“It’s obviously very challenging to try and make sure that our fans are aware, prior to driving an hour to Akron to find out that they’re going to get turned away,” Koury said. “That’s the concern.”

The change will be difficult for the community, Koury said, as fans will be restricted to watching the games through an online stream.

“Whether it be the district, the regional, the state tournament, technically those are all tournaments run by the OHSAA and we’re to adhere to whatever protocol they send to us,” Koury said.

Events surrounding OHSAA regional and state tournaments for the next two weeks are canceled, the association said, including presentations, halftime entertainment and merchandise sales.

“We are following the Governor’s instructions and are doing this for the safety of Ohioans,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass in the OHSAA release. “We must pull together to do the best we can to conduct these tournaments so that the student-athletes can still finish their seasons, which have gotten them to the pinnacle of their sport.”

The restrictions vary lightly depending on the sporting event; ice hockey, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball or wrestling. For all events, student-athletes can designate four family members who will be allowed to purchase tickets. Depending on the sport, those tickets will be for either single games, an all-session ticket book or another option.

Coaches and school administrators may also be able to designate two family-member attendees, depending on the event.