Spring sports postponed

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Monett senior Kaesha George and the Monett track and field team will have to wait a bit longer for the 2020 season to start, as MSHSAA has temporarily suspended the season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Jared Lankford/sports@monett-times.com

MSHSAA issues guidance on extracurricular events

This week was supposed to be the first full week of spring sports being contested, but that came to a screeching halt late Monday with the Missouri State High School Activities Association issuing a directive regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

“As of [Monday], the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, MSHSAA executive director. “Many of the host venues and facilities for our events are connected with colleges and universities that are closing their campuses. These issues directly and wholly affect MSHSAA districts and state series events.”

Urhahn said MSHSAA hoped to salvage some of the spring sports season, but not all MSHSAA-sanctioned events were able to survive the cutting block.

“As of [Monday], we are not canceling any Spring Sport Championships,” Urhahn said. “The MSHSAA Office will stay in communication with state and local officials to help determine the possibility of holding the championships either as scheduled or rescheduling them as long as schools are still in session.

“If we are able to maintain locations for hosting the championship series, and schools are

wishing to participate in the post season, we will conduct the championships. We are not canceling any spring sports at this time.”

MSHSAA also noted that if a school has determined that they are closing for a period of time due to coronavirus, no practices or games should occur during that time. If a school is still in session, then it is the local school’s decision on practices and games.

“This is consistent with our prior efforts to execute a measured response under the guidance of the appropriate health and governmental authorities,” Urhahn said.

While an effort to save the spring sports season is underway, MSHSAA did state that speech and debate, along with theater contests sanctioned by the organization, would be canceled.

“After much discussion and weighing of numerous options, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the remaining district tournaments as well as the state speech, debate, and theatre championships,” Urhahn said. “Due to the loss of host sites, as well as judges, the two remaining district tournaments could not be completed. In addition, these events exceed the current recommendations regarding the size of gatherings. Combined with the uncertainty of the next two months and possibly beyond, this difficult and disappointing step had to be taken.”

For the same reasons, the remaining district festivals for both large groups and solo and small ensembles, as well as the state music festival, will be cancelled. This is due to the inability to keep or secure host sites for the events, as well as the availability of adjudicators and accompanists. Only two of 20 district festivals have been completed at this time. Given information and recommendations made today, it became apparent that it will not be possible to conclude the festivals due to the vast size of these events and timeline of the current situation.

Alternative methods of submission were discussed but found to be lacking in consistency and suitability to maintain a valid process.

MSHSAA did leave the possibility of the scholar bowl competition being contested, stating that districts are not scheduled to take place until April 18. With the possibility more information could be known and new recommendations available by the end of March, it is the hope of the Association the district tournaments and state series may be completed.

The MSHSAA office will evaluate and determine if the post-season tournaments may be completed as they get closer.

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