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La Grande's Payton Cooper tries to elude a defender from The Dalles in last fall's 4A state semifinal game in Hermiston. OSAA ruled Wednesday afternoon it has delayed the start of the fall sports season to Sept. 23 at the earliest for cross-country, volleyball and soccer, while football is on hold until state official rule on what they will do with full-contact sports.

SALEM — The Oregon School Activities Association is holding out hope for a fall sports season — but if there is one, it will start about a month late.

Football's return is likely to be much later.

The OSAA announced Wednesday it will delay the first contests of the 2020 fall season — originally set for Aug. 27 — to Sept. 23 at the earliest for soccer, cross-country and volleyball. Practices for those three sports still will start Aug. 17.

“With the uncertainty of school reopening plans in many parts of the state and the timeframe related to those decisions, the OSAA Executive Board has decided to delay the first contest date...,” according to OSAA’s press release.

Football remains up in the air entirely. It’s labeled a full-contact sport by the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and is currently off limits because of that distinction. The press release from OSAA said the state will have to make a decision on football by Sept. 28. for there to be a regular season and postseason, which at that point would be modified.

There has not been a date set yet by the state to review the prohibition and the possibility of lifting it, according to the press release.

OSAA’s executive board is scheduled to meet again the week of Aug. 3, and anticipates having additional information to help it make a decision on how to proceed with the fall. Gov. Brown, in a press conference Wednesday, said direction would be coming in the days ahead on school reopenings, more mask guidance and heath metrics, according to the OSAA release, and it's likely that information would be taken into consideration during the early-August meetings.

According to the release, the state’s sports governing body will “exhaust all options” on a method to have the season played out, even if it does not take place in the fall. The board may consider moves akin to Washington and California, who have already moved some of their fall sports to the spring. OSAA conceded that a decision to move the sports — which could result in an overlapping of seasons — could force schools into a position where they have to choose which sports to sponsor, and could result in multi-sport athletes having to elect which activity to play. 

East Region Sports Editor

Ronald's primary beats are Eastern Oregon University, La Grande High School and the other eight high schools of Union and Wallowa counties. As an avid sports fan, he is primarily reading about or watching sports when he isn't covering a game.

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