KHSAA cancels 2020 spring sports season, Sweet 16 tournaments

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- The KHSAA announced on Tuesday that they are cancelling the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season as well as the boys and girls Sweet 16 basketball tournaments.

This comes following the recommended closure of all K-12 schools to in-person instruction throughout Kentucky for the remainder of the school year.

Per the KHSAA, "This means the termination of the Archery, Bass Fishing, Esports, Baseball, Softball, Tennis, and Track & Field seasons. This will also result in the continuance of all provisions of the Coronavirus Dead Period provisions until further notice to the member schools from the Commissioner."

“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,” stated 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."

“This is without question the most challenging period I have seen or faced in thirty-six 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% 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 mine, 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."

“Everyone involved in school-based athletics in our Commonwealth has been impacted. We as a staff and Board have talked every day about the students and families, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans who lost a non-recoverable portion of their lives, particularly our seniors. Corporate partners and others, while continuing to be fantastic supporters of the KHSAA and almost all agreeing to continue their full support of the Association and its events during these financially catastrophic times, also missed out on great opportunities. And our venues and their employees were also tremendously fiscally and personally impacted. There were, and are, no winners in this situation and these decisions."

“The Association will continue to communicate with member school Principals, Athletic Directors and Superintendents as we navigate the various stages and phases of resuming sports and sport-activities for the fall. The current virus dead period provisions will remain in place until, at the very least, we as a Commonwealth are cleared to be considered into Phase 1 of the Federal and State guidelines. Before that time, staff will advise our member schools as to any changes to the restrictions moving forward. There is also no plan at this time to alter, in any way, the Bylaw 24 Dead Periods for the coming or specific restrictions on organized activity in football and basketball that is also contained in that bylaw."

“We have recently developed special recognition programs which we hope our schools will take advantage of, to recognize at the very least the seniors who lost that last season, but also all spring sports participants and those who qualified for the state basketball tournaments and were unable to complete those events."