The hope is to play ball – just… not right now.
A series of moves by local officials, school district leadership and the Missouri Activities Association all came down on Monday, on the same day a season opening jamboree was rained out and a weekend series in Columbia was canceled.
Here’s where we stand. According to a release from Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, all local schools are to be closed until April 3.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association today announced no cancellations for spring sports in relation to the Coronavirus restrictions by national and state governments.
From the announcement: ” As of today we are not canceling spring sport championships. We will stay in communication with state and local officials to help determine the possibility of holding our championships either as scheduled, or moving back into June if schools are still in session, to try to allow these experiences for our students.”
MSHSAA and the government certainly doesn’t have an easy task, but at this time, there don’t appear to be any state restrictions on playing ball when the school cancellation is lifted. More from the announcement, “If a school has determined that they are closing for a period of time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), then no practices or games should occur during that time. However, if the school is still in session, then it is a local school decision on the practices and games. “
So – that leaves the bats in the bags and the gloves in the lockers for right now. Hopefully, the worst of this will pass over us and we’ll be able to get back to playing ball in early April. Stay tuned.
Full text of the MSHSAA announcement:
MSHSAA Member School Administrators, Directors, and Spring Coaches;
I am emailing you today to provide you with a current status update about MSHSAA spring activities and sports. We thank you for your patience as we continuously monitor information on this ever-changing situation. MSHSAA has been, and continues to be, in communication with DESE, the Governor’s office, state and local health officials and organizations, as well as other high school associations in the Midwest. We continue to review the medical guidance of the CDC, and all breaking information regarding COVID-19 to make the best decision possible with the information available to us. As of today, the CDC 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. Further, many of our host venues and facilities are connected with colleges and universities that are closing their campuses. These issues directly and wholly affect MSHSAA districts and state series events.
Below, I have outlined the current status and plans for each of our spring activities, as well as spring sports. These are outlined below in the order that the culminating event (state championship or festival) is scheduled to take place. Please read this information in its entirety.
Speech, Debate and Theatre:
Unfortunately, after much discussion and looking at any and all options, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the State Speech, Debate, and Theatre Championships, as well as the District events that have not yet been completed. We are unable to complete the district events due to a lack of host sites and judges, and our state event site is unavailable as well. Further, our events are such that they exceed the current recommendations regarding the size of gatherings. Therefore, due to the uncertainty of the next two months and possibly beyond, we’ve had to take this difficult and disappointing step.
In addition, we regret that we are canceling the remaining district solo/small ensemble, large group, as well as the State solo/small ensemble festivals. This is due to the inability to keep or secure host sites for the events, as well as the availability of adjudicators and accompanists. We have only completed two of the twenty District festivals at this time and it has become apparent that it will not be possible to complete the district festivals due to the inability to control and/or restrict attendance at these events within the CDC guidelines. Alternative methods of submission were discussed but found to be lacking in consistency and suitability to maintain a valid process.
Currently, we are in a wait and see position on scholar bowl. Districts are not scheduled to take place until April 18, and more should be known about where things stand in the nation by the end of March. It is our hope that the Districts and State Series might be completed, if not as scheduled, possibly on a postponed basis. We will take this a day at a time to evaluate and determine if we can complete the post season tournament as it gets closer.
Let me speak first to the issue of spring districts and championships. As of today we are not canceling spring sport championships. We will stay in communication with state and local officials to help determine the possibility of holding our championships either as scheduled, or moving back into June if schools are still in session, to try to allow these experiences for our students. This is consistent with our prior efforts to execute a measured response under the guidance of the appropriate health and governmental authorities. Therefore, if we are able to find 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 all the spring sports at this time!
Now, in regard to spring sport practices… If a school has determined that they are closing for a period of time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), then no practices or games should occur during that time. However, if the school is still in session, then it is a local school decision on the practices and games. Lastly, if the state authorities shut down all schools statewide, we will mirror the shutdown for all practices and contests.
14 Days of Conditioning
The MSHSAA Office will not waive the requirement to have 14 days of conditioning under the supervision of the coach. Therefore, giving a student a workout plan will not count toward the requirement while schools are not in session and unable to practice at the school. When the students return this spring, they will start with the number of practices they had completed up to this date. However, if the school wishes to be more restrictive to require more than 14 practices, the school can.
By-Law 3.9.1 Each team must have 14 days of conditioning practice and each individual must have participated in 14 school conditioning practices on 14 different days prior to the date of the first interscholastic contest in all sports. This requirement shall be met if a student has been a member of another school sports team immediately preceding the sport season, has been actively practicing with the sport team, has had 14 days of physical conditioning and begins physical conditioning practice with the new sport team with no more than seven calendar days having passed between the two sports before beginning practice.
I will be asking the MSHSAA Board of Directors at their April meeting to waive the requirements in By-Law 5.1.2:
By-Law 5.1.2 Eligibility: To be eligible to enter a team or individual in any preliminary or state event, a school must have competed in at least half of the number of contests permitted under the by-law pertaining to that particular sport. No individual student shall be entered who has not represented his or her school in interscholastic competition in that sport during the season. This provision does not apply to activities in Section 4 of the Handbook.
We will continue to work with all agencies to monitor and assess this rapidly changing situation. We will continue discuss all options in an effort to complete the spring season at some point if at all possible. We will stay in communication with our schools on a regular basis as decisions are made and information is available. Thank you so much for your continued support!