How the State Guidelines Came About

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by Mike_Craig_-_Ohio USSSA, May 19, 2020.

  1. This was edited and taken from another thread in case anyone was curious as to how they came about. BTW Mike, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to represent us. It is much appreciated! yocoach

    I was on the committee as a representative. There was a chairperson that put together the checklist of items prior to the health dept. officials getting involved. Things like mandatory face coverings for everyone was on a best practices list but not necessary to attend an event. Coverings for players between innings/games and officials was never mentioned nor on the initial list sent over to discuss on our first conference call with the health dept on the line also.

    I was originally contacted by the chairperson as someone to represent softball on the committee. My name was given to him by someone else who currently is a softball coach who works in the Restart Ohio dept. I could have politely declined as I thought about doing because frankly I didn't know what influence my word would have on folks who were going to have the final say anyways. When we first submitted these guidelines, they were nothing like what was posted. Again the health dept was going to have the final say.

    Once the Health dept got involved, things starting changing and fast. There was a woman who might have been Amy Acton's second or third in charge that was leading the way. The first thing she wanted done was a mandatory temp check along with several questions regarding health for every person there including players, spectators, umpires, and park staff. I interjected and explained a scenario of which if I had an 8 am game time on 8 fields with 16 teams, there was no way this could be done in any timely fashion. She also wanted us to log this and notate it for every person there. Again something that is not achievable. Plus I do not feel comfortable asking someones minor children health related questions nor do I want to violate any HIPPA laws by putting someones health items on main street for all to hear. Fortunately she dropped that notion but not without a fight from the 4-5 other health dept officials on the call.

    After this initial call with the health dept folks on the line, we got an email 3-4 days later with the check list of items and they were much different than what we had submitted. The face covering items were all over the documents including for officials. I had my head umpire poll some of our officials on how they felt if this was the only way to play this year and if they were willing to do it. I sent off an email to the chairperson objecting mainly to the face coverings for the officials because that is the only part of this that I had major concerns about. The players wearing them between innings someone else had sent him an email about so there was no need to be redundant about the issue.

    Second and last conference call with the health dept folks and more of the same with more restrictions being added back in. The gentleman who objected to the players wearing them in between innings said his peace on why this was not the best idea and the meeting moved on. This time when we got to the officials, I interjected with what I seen the main reasons why this was not good for our folks who works these games. Some of which was heat in places with turfed fields and how much hotter it gets on those fields along with the girls can go off the field every half inning but the umpires can not. Duly noted and on to the next item. We were thanked for our input and not much more was said about any time line or final draft to the public. When the guidelines came out, it was the first time any of us on the committee had seen the final print. Again this was not the initial guidelines we had submitted a few weeks back when this started.

    May 14 and the Governor makes the declaration that low contact sports including baseball and softball can resume again and my phone and email blow up the rest of the afternoon into the evening and continued thru the next day until the guidelines came out. When I seen them, the facial coverings were on the players between innings and still on the officials. I wrote an email to the chair board pleading my case about the coverings for officials to be reviewed and spelled out the reasons again why this was not good for any official in the sport. I have not heard back other than thanking me for my input and that it would be forwarded to the committee of health dept officials who have taken over the process from here on out.

    Also this was a professional committee with professional people on it. There was a rep from the PGA of Ohio, reps from Parks and Recs depts, reps from a couple of the largest youth programs in Ohio for baseball and softball, reps for summer basketball and volleyball programs. Getting loud and animated doesn't go far with folks like this. Letting your political feelings out doesn't go far either. I don't know about you but he who "shouts the loudest" usually gets ignored on a committee like this if they don't get asked to leave first. I felt it was good to have someone represent our game and not have anyone give their political opinions about everything. They have heard that all during this pandemic. They wanted people to calmly voice their opinions and offer constructive input and reasoning that is not sensationalized by personal feelings. Every time I have been involved personally and professionally in a group like that, the level headed individuals got more accomplished. But maybe if asked to do it again, I should get loud and brow beat people with my personal opinions so they "get the point" about how communist it is to be forced to wear these facial coverings in public. But that would be the same thing the people who stormed the statehouse early in the month after the safe-at-home was extended and you see how far it got them.

    One thing you will notice is my name is always on the bottom of my postings. I don't run from what I write. People may not like it or think I am arrogant but I am always trying to be fair and try to do right by this game as much as possible
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2020
  2. I appreciate the transparency and giving us a glimpse of the process. A lot of people thought softball would not even be an option this summer. We all have our own personal opinions, thoughts, and concerns. Like everything else "opening up" with have a choice to abide by it to participate, or you don't participate at all. I, like others, don't care for a few of these things...but it is what it is for now. Thanks, Mike for being our voice.
  3. SonicMojo

    SonicMojo Active Member

    Thanks Mike for sharing. It's definitely good for people to know how this all came about. Also thank you for your efforts on behalf of all of us. And I'm with you thinking July 1 was optimistic.
  4. JoeA1010

    JoeA1010 Active Member

    Wow. Interesting. Also, a perfect anecdote to show why the administrative state is a disaster and government bureaucracies and "experts" can never have 1 1/1000th of the knowledge to make better decisions for people than the people themselves collectively.
  5. Cat-Man

    Cat-Man Member

  6. tourn_director

    tourn_director New Member

    I agree 100%. Gov DeWine says a working group came up with best practices and as Mike Craig relates it, the final product was never coordinated nor folks given a chance to rebut. In other words the decision was already made before they called a group together to give input. And then, he tells everyone the group made the decision, so the group was basically used to justify the decision. In reality, the health officials decided. Folks can decide for themselves if the cure the Health community has come up is worse than the disease.

    I think teams can live with the dugout requirements, but during tournaments the issue is going to be the umpires --- why should they put their health at risks by having to wear facemasks just to make $35 to $40 a game before taxes and travel/uniform expenses?

    Bob Darden
    Alive at 75
  7. 9ball

    9ball Member

    Imagine what the guidelines would've been if Mike and the group hadn't been involved.

    At least they were able to roll back some of the more restrictive suggested odh wanted.
    Love2Coachball and SonicMojo like this.
  8. Love2Coachball

    Love2Coachball New Member

    Thank you so much for your information on this. I am actually glad to hear that someone who represented softball for our players was not recommending face coverings for these kids or coaches or umpires. Even if we don't look at this politically, these masks are impractical, and are going to be covered in sweat and dirt within one inning. Just how many masks should our girls be taking with them to a tournament? Of course, with all of the rules in place not to touch anyone and to keep a distance from players, why do coaches need to mask anyway? I can't imagine how hot and uncomfortable the poor home plate umpire will be all suited up and masked!

    And I am sure I am not the only one wondering if a player is going to know what the heck I am saying when coaching a base! I can't understand anyone when I go to the store. I can't imagine when we are in the middle of a game. I am glad the girls get to play because I have players and a daughter being recruited and they need to be seen.
  9. Love2Coachball

    Love2Coachball New Member

    Earlier today, I called the ODH and spent 30 minutes going over guidelines with a representative.

    First the word "face covering" seems to be open to interpretation. It is not "mask" but covering.
    Second, the representative said that if "for any reason" someone can't wear a mask, then they can't wear a mask. No one can ask why. If the reason is simply, "It is uncomfortable", a person doesn't have to give their reason, but it is valid and they don't have to wear a mask. When he said this, I mentioned the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said that he couldn't comment on that, but he said with every "order" that "the devil is in the details" and left it at that.

    He said it would be up to our coaching staff how we proceed with dealing with our players, unless a specific tournament or league has their own rules. I know we have one girl with exercise-induced asthma, and I was concerned about her slapping a mask on after running around in the heat.

    He said that this applies to adults as well.

    Just food for thought. I might recommend calling if you haven't.
  10. We had a call last night and I lobbied again about the face coverings, mostly for officials, and thought I got shrugged off especially when one of the health dept people got a little agitated that I brought it up again. Today the Governor's office revised the guidelines to move face coverings from mandatory to highly recommended.

    Maybe I should have lobbied real hard for places to open up and let us play? That is the next big issue going on an it is really hitting me the hardest because of our reliance on a local Parks and Rec and a couple of other venues falling under OHSAA guidelines. Even though OHSAA has softened their stance, some places are choosing to remain shut even though given the ok to open back up.

    Folks this is not going to be business as usual all summer long like some people are getting overly carried away with. Still going to be a lot of Health dept folks showing up at parks and a lot of tattling going on. It will very hard to almost impossible at times to control spacing for folks all the time and I am not looking forward to even having to be the "social distancing" police.

    This whole season just seems like the longest 9-10 week rain delay I have ever seen and it just keeps on raining <metaphorically speaking>.
  11. SonicMojo

    SonicMojo Active Member

    We have to keep the pressure on the schools to open for sure. There are still some ADs around Ohio clinging to the belief that outdoor school athletic facilities are closed by ODH until 6/30, even though that was never true. And even though OHSAA has made that clear a few times over the last 2 weeks.

    As for other municipal and public parks, we have to give them a little time to have their board meetings. Many of them haven't met since these announcements started coming in. But many of them will need friendly pressure as well.
    daboss likes this.

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