MIAMI — It’s full speed ahead for the Oklahoma Eight Man Football Coaches Association all-star game, with one exception.
Because of COVID-19 and other issues, the game and activities accompanying it have been bumped to July.
Players will report on Tuesday, July 14 and begin preparations for the game, which will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at Red Robertson Field.
The game had been in doubt because of guideline set by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
All athletics and other prep activities had been on hold since March.
But last month, schools were given the OK to start back up on June 1.
“We are thankful that the OSSAA opened things up for us to be able to bring in coaches to participate,” said Amanda Davis, OEMFCA board member and executive director of the Miami Convention and Tourism Bureau.
Extra measures will be taken to ensure the safety of all participants.
“We are working closely with NEO and Sodexo and have a great plan to place to be able to pull this off inside of the CDC recommendations,” Davis said.
Each player will have an individual dorm room and restrooms and shower areas will be disinfected throughout the day.
Players will be required to take a shower immediately after all practices. The OEMFCA will have sanitizer throughout the dorms and around during activities throughout the week.
Head trainer Tony Aguilera will do temperature checks upon player arrival and daily for the rest of the week. Parents/guardians and visitors will not be permitted in the dorm during check in and the remainder of the week.
If a player does become ill, they will be confined to their dorm room and the parent will be contacted to come check them out to return home.
Friday night’s awards banquet will be held at the Civic Center because of the added space in the banquet room there.
“We can hold up to 600 at the Civic Center,” Davis said. “We will have more space there to keep everyone spread out and allow more room.”
This marks the 18th straight year the game has been staged in Ottawa County.
The game was played in Alva from 1973 to 2002, at Northeastern A&M from 2003-06, at Commerce from 2007-09 (because of damage caused by the catastrophic ’07 flood, at NEO in 2010-12, at Commerce in 2013 (when the turf and new lighting was installed at Robertson Field) and has been in Miami since 2014.
“This event produces more than 800 hotel rooms nights in town, most of those visitors are here for up to three days,” Davis said. “Even on an off year, we still see nearly $200,000 new dollars spent in town for this game. Miami has become home to 8-Man football all-star week and our team at the CVB really looks forward to the event.
“Our community has always done a great job of welcoming this group to town. It will be hot in July, but we are looking forward to giving these student athletes the ability for one more time on the turf.”