Public, private high school spring sports yet to be canceled, future uncertain

By ANDREW ABADIE,

Mississippi high school athletics have been officially postpend due to the spread of COVID-19. 

 

After a long anticipated wait, the Mississippi High School Activities Association suspended activities that includes both competition and practices.

 

The MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which is made up of 15 school administration from around the state, made the decision on Monday. 

 

In a press release it was stated: Effective immediately, March 16, all MHSAA interscholastic sports and fine-arts activities competition and practice is suspended through March 29 and until further notice. This suspension applies whether or not a school is open or closed during this timeline.

 

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Hattiesburg Athletic Director Tony Vance said. “We have leaders in place for a reason. We have to trust the decision they make and know that the decision that they make is in the best interest for our students safety. That’s our number one priority. I think we are definitely fine with the decision. Things have trickled down from the professionals to college and the high schools. I don’t think it’s anything anyone is surprised about.” 

 

The MHSAA plans to continue assess the situation regularly in the event that the season could be either cancelled or if seasons can be resumed. 

 

As a result, the MHSAA is also in the process of creating contingency plans for continuing regular-season competition and when it would be best for schools to return action. In addition, each spring fine-arts activity and sports championship is currently be reviewed if actions will be taken and if new dates and venue sites will be needed. There is no set time frame for these decisions. 

 

According to Oak Grove Athletic Director Chris McCardle, if possible, playing a makeshift season or even picking up play in the summer could be viable options. 

 

“What I gather from it they are going to see what information is available and what is happening with the spread of it. If it has gotten worse by then we definitely won’t start playing again. If we do start back, every high school will probably just play their division games. It could be an abbreviated playoff where it’s just one game, usually it’s a best two out of three series. 

 

“If things are died down in May then I could see them reaching out to high schools and wanting to continue on through the summer. We would definitely do it. There is no question that we do it.” 

 

For McCardle postponing the regular season is the best course of action until more information is known about the spread of the virus. 

 

“I think it’s the right decision at this point and with the situation that we are dealing with the unknowns of how it spreads,” McCardle said. “I know the MHSAA has talked with the experts so I think it’s the right decision now and hopefully everything is back to normal March 30. 

 

“But I am thankful that the MHSAA didn’t just cancel the season like college baseball. To just suspend the season and revaluate is the best plan. I’m thankful they did that.” 

 

Like the MHSAA, the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) has also postponed competition but on a week-to-week basis.  

 

“Right now the MAIS is looking at this on a week-to-week basis,” Presbyterian Christian School Athletic Director Rob Shillito said. “This week they have recommended shutting everything down. I think we are in a good place that it coincides with our spring break. Most of the MAIS school’s spring break was last week so they are officially missing school this week.

 

“We had a conference call (Monday night) with Dr. Shane Glannatan the executive director of MAIS and he kind of walked through some of the medical professionals that they have talked to and the legislators he had talked and what their recommendations have been.”

 

Shillito explained that the reasoning for taking a week-to-week basis is so that the schools can have as much information possible before making a long term decision. 

 

“On the surface that sounds like they are dragging their feet and that’s not the case on how (Glannatan) explained it,” Shillito said. “His stance is the best decisions are made with an abundance of information and that’s what we are doing right now. It’s not a wait and see approach its more of just trying to get as much information as possible and make our decisions from there so that we can explain to our stakeholders exactly why we made the decision that we made.” 

 

While more information is gathered for both organizations the best interest is the safety of the students. 

 

“I think two weeks from now everyone is going to know a little bit more about this virus than they do right now,” Vance said. “I think they will reconvene and decide on moving forward what they need to do with the safety of our students being our No. 1 priority. For our students statewide, no one is getting a competitive advantage because nobody is trying to practice or is playing. I think it’s the right thing to do and I support the situation.” 

Mississippi high school athletics have been officially postponed due to the spread of COVID-19.

After a long anticipated wait, the Mississippi High School Activities Association suspended activities that includes both competition and practices.

The MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which is made up of 15 school administration from around the state, made the decision on Monday.

In a press release it was stated: Effective immediately, March 16, all MHSAA interscholastic sports and fine-arts activities competition and practice is suspended through March 29 and until further notice. This suspension applies whether or not a school is open or closed during this timeline.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Hattiesburg Athletic Director Tony Vance said. “We have leaders in place for a reason. We have to trust the decision they make and know that the decision that they make is in the best interest for our students safety. That’s our number one priority. I think we are definitely fine with the decision. Things have trickled down from the professionals to college and the high schools. I don’t think it’s anything anyone is surprised about.”

The MHSAA plans to continue assess the situation regularly in the event that the season could be either cancelled or if seasons can be resumed.

As a result, the MHSAA is also in the process of creating contingency plans for continuing regular-season competition and when it would be best for schools to return action. In addition, each spring fine-arts activity and sports championship is currently be reviewed if actions will be taken and if new dates and venue sites will be needed. There is no set time frame for these decisions.

According to Oak Grove Athletic Director Chris McCardle, if possible, playing a makeshift season or even picking up play in the summer could be viable options.

“What I gather from it they are going to see what information is available and what is happening with the spread of it. If it has gotten worse by then we definitely won’t start playing again. If we do start back, every high school will probably just play their division games. It could be an abbreviated playoff where it’s just one game, usually it’s a best two out of three series.

“If things are died down in May then I could see them reaching out to high schools and wanting to continue on through the summer. We would definitely do it. There is no question that we do it.”

For McCardle postponing the regular season is the best course of action until more information is known about the spread of the virus.

“I think it’s the right decision at this point and with the situation that we are dealing with the unknowns of how it spreads,” McCardle said. “I know the MHSAA has talked with the experts so I think it’s the right decision now and hopefully everything is back to normal March 30.

“But I am thankful that the MHSAA didn’t just cancel the season like college baseball. To just suspend the season and revaluate is the best plan. I’m thankful they did that.”

Like the MHSAA, the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) has also postponed competition but on a week-to-week basis. 

“Right now the MAIS is looking at this on a week-to-week basis,” Presbyterian Christian School Athletic Director Rob Shillito said. “This week they have recommended shutting everything down. I think we are in a good place that it coincides with our spring break. Most of the MAIS school’s spring break was last week so they are officially missing school this week.

“We had a conference call (Monday night) with Dr. Shane Blanton the executive director of MAIS and he kind of walked through some of the medical professionals that they have talked to and the legislators he had talked and what their recommendations have been.”

Shillito explained that the reasoning for taking a week-to-week basis is so that the schools can have as much information possible before making a long term decision.

“On the surface that sounds like they are dragging their feet and that’s not the case on how (Blanton) explained it,” Shillito said. “His stance is the best decisions are made with an abundance of information and that’s what we are doing right now. It’s not a wait and see approach its more of just trying to get as much information as possible and make our decisions from there so that we can explain to our stakeholders exactly why we made the decision that we made.”

While more information is gathered for both organizations the best interest is the safety of the students.

“I think two weeks from now everyone is going to know a little bit more about this virus than they do right now,” Vance said. “I think they will reconvene and decide on moving forward what they need to do with the safety of our students being our No. 1 priority. For our students statewide, no one is getting a competitive advantage because nobody is trying to practice or is playing. I think it’s the right thing to do and I support the situation.”