Seasons on the brink

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Schools grappling with what-if scenarios

Coaches are fond of telling players to controls the things they can control and do not worry about what they cannot control.

Now, it is time for them to practice what they preach.

Every school in the bi-county region has dismissed classes through April 3 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association issued a directive on Monday suspending spring sports for up to eight weeks.

However, the districts are hoping the seasons will be saved and underway sooner than the two-month time frame.

“Ultimately, we are going to follow the recommendation of MSHSAA,” said Doug Martin, Cassville athletic director. “I hate it for our seniors. I hate it for our athletes and coaches. But at the end of the day, we will follow whatever the health department and MSHSAA recommend.”

Martin says he and all the other districts are in a wait-and-see approach. He spent most of Monday canceling the games scheduled through April 6.

“Hunker down is the term that has been used a lot lately,” Martin said. “In a perfect world, we hope to get back to school and getting ready for competition April 6.”

However, two MSHSAA by-laws, 3.9.1 and 5.1.2, will need to have waivers issued before competition could immediately resume.

By-law 3.9.1 states 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.

“Some schools haven’t fulfilled the practice days yet, and they will be a week or more behind,” Martin said. “It may be hard to find immediate games.”

By-law 5.1.2 states 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.

“The other hoop is that MSHSAA will need to rescind this rule because there is no way to get a full season’s worth of games in the time we have remaining,” Martin said.

Still, Martin noted that in a perfect world, he hopes these changes are needed to make a go of a spring season.

With any hopes of game being play still four weeks away at the best estimate, it is still a real possibility that no sports will be contested, but for now, all Martin and all of Missouri can do is wait an see.

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