The Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) announced Tuesday what most in the high school sporting world had both expected and dreaded since sporting action stopped due to COVID-19 concerns.
The 2020 state basketball tournaments will not be resumed.
All spring sports and sports activities for the 2019-2020 school year are canceled, including regular season practices and contests, as well as postseason tournament championship events.
This means the termination of the archery, bass fishing, esports, baseball, softball, tennis, and track & field seasons. This will also result in the continuance of all Coronavirus Dead Period provisions until further notice to the member schools from the commissioner.
“We have until this point purposely taken a measured approach to the resumption of our basketball events and consideration of the ending of the spring seasons for sports and sport-activities,” stated KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “We have accepted continual guidance from a variety of sources, and have steadfastly held on to hope that the great student-athletes who represent their schools through a variety of teams would have an opportunity to compete this season.”
“This is without question the most challenging period I have seen or faced in thirty-six years in this office. This impacts so many people, but in the end, is in the best interest of public health. We have been especially concerned with the graduating class of 2020, those seniors who put so much into their athletic participation opportunities hoping for one last time to shine before the home crowds or at postseason events … In the end, however, the health and safety of all individuals, participants, coaches, and spectators, is much more important than the various interscholastic activities.”
Later in the release, Mr. Tackett added:
“The Association will continue to communicate with member school principals, athletic directors and superintendents as we navigate the various stages and phases of resuming sports and sport-activities for the fall. The current virus dead period provisions will remain in place until, at the very least, we as a Commonwealth are cleared to be considered into Phase 1 of the federal and state guidelines. Before that time, staff will advise our member schools as to any changes to the restrictions moving forward. There is also no plan at this time to alter, in any way, the Bylaw 24 Dead Periods for the coming or specific restrictions on organized activity in football and basketball that is also contained in that bylaw.”
When asked to weigh in on this unfortunate situation, local high school athletic directors said that they understood all sides of the situation.
“I understand the situation that everyone is going through. We’re all in the same boat right now, but I really hate it, especially for our spring sports seniors. This is very difficult, but we’ll all get through it,” said Whitley County High School’s Bryan Stewart. “I would like for there to be some opportunities for those senior athletes to get noticed by colleges, but health and safety has to be our first priority. We all need to collectively focus on these students right now. It’s kids first as we try to find the best situations and solutions for them moving forward.”
Williamsburg High School’s Jerry Herron echoed similar sentiments.
“All of these kids worked so hard, and I just feel so sorry for them to lose this opportunity. I’m especially upset for the seniors. This is so disheartening, but there is nothing that we could’ve done to control the situation. I just wish it could’ve played our differently,” Herron said.
“No one has a clue about what’s going to happen. We are just trying to develop plans for everything. There will be more discussions and talks moving forward, but right now this is just a very sad thing, and we don’t have a clue about what’s coming next.”
Corbin High School’s Andrew Roark added, “All of this is just terrible for the kids, especially the seniors. There is no easy way around it, it’s been tough on them. They are a tough bunch, though. They’re a tough class. I’m just sad for this group, because for them it will always be, ‘What if.’ When you talk about legacy, it’s those championships that get remembered and talked about for years to come. This bunch didn’t get their chance to write their own chapter, though. It’s very unfortunate.”