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KHSAA officially halts all spring sports; fall up in air

With the announcement this week of the recommended closure of all K-12 schools to in-person instruction throughout Kentucky for the remainder of the school year, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted unanimously against resuming the 2020 state basketball tournaments, while also approving the cancellation of all regular-season practices and contests as well as all postseason tournament championship events for all spring sports and sport activities for the remainder of the current school year.

This means the termination of the archery, bass fishing, esports, baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field seasons. This will also result in the continuance of the Coronavirus Dead Period provisions until further notice to the member schools from the commissioner.

The KHSAA says it has worked closely with Governor Andy Beshear and state and local authorities since the start of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The KHSAA says its Board of Control “unequivocally supports (Gov. Beshear) and his aggressive actions to protect our citizens during the COVID-19 virus outbreak, and the timetable that has been laid out by (President Trump and the federal government) for a return to activities.”

“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,” said 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.”

Added Tackett, “This is without question the most challenging period I have seen or faced in 36 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. We know for the vast majority of them, their future plans are already laid out, with college and career final preparation as their next chapter. We are also keenly aware that per almost all metrics, 94 percent of the students who participate in high school sports and sport activities are involved in their last organized competition while in high school, as the lion’s share of participants will not play beyond this level. In the end, however, the health and safety of all individuals, participants, coaches, and spectators, is much more important than the various interscholastic activities.

“Nothing in my, or frankly, anyone else’s professional career completely prepared me for this situation since mid-March and the related subsequent decisions. That was probably the hardest thing to deal with,” added Tackett. “These kids don’t get a chance to finish, especially the seniors, and it is as though they were robbed by an invisible enemy. It is sometimes a little easier in life when there is someone to blame. With this, however, there isn’t. We are all together fighting the same enemy with the same desired outcome.”

Tackett said the KHSAA will continue to communicate with member school principals, athletic directors and superintendents as it navigates the various stages and phases of resuming sports and sport activities for the fall.

The board and staff will continue to address issues related to the fall season.

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