Should Oklahoma educators follow through with their threat of a walkout if lawmakers don’t approve a $6,000 bump in pay by April 1, numerous high school and middle school events would grind to a halt.
Six tournaments and some 60 other events would be affected locally should the work stoppage last a minimum of 12 days.
Miami and several other boards of education were to discuss local participation at their meetings Monday, March 12.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s business as usual here all the way up to that point,” Miami athletic director Chad Davis said.
The most adversely affected in the event of a walkout would be the 18th annual Mickey Mantle Classic at Commerce, which runs April 2-7.
Miami, Fairland, Afton, Wyandotte, Quapaw, Haskell, Locust Grove and Tahlequah Sequoyah as well as four Missouri schools: McDonald County, Diamond and the Neosho varsity and junior varsity are entered.
“What makes it so difficult is we’re not going to know until the last minute if there’s a walkout or not,” Mantle Classic director Brian Waybright said. “The only thing we can do is plan for it. I polled the coaches today (Friday, March 9) to see if they were going to be allowed to play or not. Some are having to wait until after their next board meeting to see if they are going to be able to play.”
Waybright said his plans are to go ahead with the awards banquet since guest speaker Bucky Dent is already locked in.
Dent is scheduled to make an appearance at Downstream Resort on Friday, April 7 — which sponsors the guest speaker — then go to Commerce for an autograph session and the banquet the next day.
“Obviously I would think there will be some interest in it, but we’re not going to have all the teams here like we normally do,” Waybright said.
Waybright said he’s cut down on the number of wooden bats that would be ordered as well as caps.
“It will adversely affect us right out of the gate” Davis said. “Even if it goes three days, it’s a big hit. But it’s just not an option. Athletics is not going to supersede our education ever. I wholeheartedly agree that we should not compete in anything or practice in anything with the walkout.”
Also during the timeframe of the walkout are baseball tournaments at Oklahoma Union (with Welch in the field, April 5-7) and the Lucky 7 Conference tournament (April 2-14).
If the walkout is prolonged, the Wyandotte slow-pitch tournament (April 6-7) and Fairland baseball tournament (April 12-14) could be affected.
The Miami Invitational golf tournament is scheduled for April 4 at Peoria Ridge Golf Course.
“I’ve ordered medals and plaques for our golf tournament,” Davis said. “We don’t get that money back. We’re just not going to operate in the ‘what if?’ we are going to do what is best for our kids right now. It’s business as usual.”
In addition to the lost tournament games, there are at least 31 other baseball games that would be affected, 14 soccer matches, including the Commerce at Miami showdown on Tuesday, April 10; three MHS tennis matches and eight additional other slow-pitch softball games.
The total doesn’t include a number of track meets involving area schools.
That could pose a real problem since most of the area schools compact their schedules so they only compete in April.
“It will definitely have an effect,” Commerce girls’ coach Bruce Rhodes said. “Getting athletes to peak at the right time will be a challenge with a schedule interruption.
“If the walkout happens, my hope is that it is short for the seniors who participate in a spring sport.”
CHS has four of its eight meets scheduled during that time frame, Rhodes said.
It has one meet scheduled prior to April 2.
“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Miami boys’ soccer coach David Douthit said.
David Jackson, executive director of the OSSAA, said pushing back playoffs — if needed — would be difficult.
“It’s hard for us since we depend on so many people to make our playoffs work,” he said. “It makes it difficult for us to reschedule it for another date and time.
In a lot of scenarios, the venues we use and the people we use are available that day only. So its one of those situations where we can’t say ‘we will postpone to this day.”
Jackson hopes that in the event of a walkout, member schools will waive their “no school, no play” policies.
“If not, that will put a strain on everything if you have to make up district baseball and soccer games,” Jackson said. “I think districts are talking, as we are, on how to handle those scenarios.”