TAPPS ‘Return to Play’ plan announced

Our Lady of the Hills Athletic Director Chris Ramirez

It was not an entirely empty glass that was served up to members of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools during Friday's webinar dealing with the business of how to proceed with handling fall's extracurricular activities during the upcoming school year.

To that end, Our Lady of the Hills' athletic director and head football coach Chris Ramirez breathed a sigh of relief.

"I was extremely grateful at the TAPPS decision. I was worried that due to some trends at the collegiate level and at some areas across Texas that things would be entirely cancelled, but we got an assurance that we will have a season," said Ramirez.

TAPPS officials announced its “Return to Play” plan, which pushed back the start of the 2020 fall sports seasons to September.

Under the revised athletic calendar, the state's largest governing body for private school athletics selected Sept. 8 as the first day for football, volleyball, and cross country to hold official practices - about a month later than usual. Most UIL programs were slated to begin workouts on Aug. 3, and TAPPS usually mirrors UIL policy.

"I'm glad to see TAPPS do what they did. We now have plan to embrace, and look forward to," Ramirez said.

The announced modifications mean that the Hawks will lose five games off their football schedule with play not resuming until Oct. 2. That translates to only one nondistrict game, and four of six district games. Of those five, two would be home outings.

Volleyball's schedule reduces it to playing its first official match Sept. 21, allowing that sport to only three nondistrict matches before starting league action, and the decision could mean OLH misses out on the opportunity to host its first ever home course cross country meet which was on the docket for Sept. 19.

Under the directive, schools will now be allowed to retool their summer strength and conditioning programs, operating those up until schools open for planned instruction. For OLH the date is Aug. 17.

"Our summer program was running really well when we made the decision to suspend it. Now we are working on a plan to get the kids back in a program as soon as possible, safely as possible, and as well thought out as possible. Let's get our kids ready to compete," said Ramirez.

Ramirez and OLH Principal Therese Schwarz will be responsible for that plan's development, because in addition to fall athletic activities, things such as cheer, band, choir, and one act play are also impacted.

Under the auspices of TAPPS' edict, OLH's first football game should happen that first Friday in October at Bulverde Bracken Christian. Volleyball would take the court on a Monday at home against SA Feast. The cross-country schedule is still being determined.

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