In a press release sent out to all KHSAA school members, high school sports - and anything related to high school sports - has come to a grinding and immediate halt for at least another month.
No football spring practice. No baseball hitting drills. No softball infield work.
No post-season banquets or athletic special recognitions.
No individual instructions by coaches.
No open gyms.
No sports camps.
From now until Sunday, April 12, Kentucky high school sports cease to exist in any shape or form.
While Pulaski County High School softball coach Brad Gover fully understands the need for the one-month spring sports dead period, he now has to strategize how he is going to approach the remainder of what is left, if any, of the 2020 softball season.
"Right now, all I can do is rely on my players to stay in shape on their own, and work on their timing," Gover commented. "And if the season resumes on April 12, we will just have to see where we are at. Right now, we don't know if we can immediately start playing games at that point or if there will be a grace period before actual competition begins."
"We have a game scheduled for April 13 and we have a district game scheduled for April 14," Gover stated. "If it was up to me, I would rather start playing games immediately after the dead period. We will just have to wait and see."
Most high school spring sports teams began practice on Feb. 15. And with the exception of four players that were playing basketball up until a couple of weeks ago, the Lady Maroons softball team was intensely gearing up for the upcoming season.
"I was very happy where we were at," Gover stated. "Yesterday (Thursday) was our best practice all year. We hit a total of 24 home runs."
It is noted, in the statement from the KHSAA, that the upcoming spring sports state championships will still be conducted, if possible, but spring sports will definitely have a abbreviated season.
The month-long high school sports ban also puts a dark cloud over the possibility the boys and girls 2020 Sweet Sixteen basketball tournaments will be rescheduled. It would be hard to imagine that the remaining state basketball tournament participants would be able to take an entire month off with any team practices and then be able to play in an ultra high-level state championship tournament.
Below is the KHSAA statement in its entirety:
Effective immediately, all sports and sport-activities, regardless of season, are declared to be in a dead period, congruent with the provisions of Bylaw 24. This prohibition extends through Sunday, April 12. Prior to April 11, and in consultation with the Governor, Public Health Officials and the Kentucky Department of Education, an evaluation will be made for the period going forward.
Students shall not participate in any organized team activity, or organized or semi-organized team competition in any sport or sport-activity in any format at any location in any state where school personnel (paid or unpaid) are involved, in attendance, or receiving reports of performance.
Prior approval for sanctioned events through the NFHS sanctioning system, both in and out of state, is hereby rescinded for this period. Member schools should note that without appropriate NFHS sanctioning, provisions of the KHSAA Catastrophic Insurance policy are not in place.
Students may not participate in activities such as weight training, skill development, individual camps (with per team limits on participation), team camps, or open gym or field activities even if no inter-school competition is involved.
Students may not receive coaching or training from school personnel (either salaried or non-salaried) in any KHSAA sanctioned sport or sport-activity;
School facilities, uniforms, nicknames, transportation or equipment, may not be used in any KHSAA-sanctioned sport or sport-activity;
School funds may not be expended in support of interscholastic athletics in any KHSAA-sanctioned sport or sport-activity;
This restricted period does not preclude communication between school, athletic department and coaching representatives to team members and/or families of players on the current roster;
Postseason wrap-up activities, celebrations and recognition events relating to a sport or sport-activity team at a school may not be held.
At this point, there are no plans to cancel state championship play in the spring sports and sport-activities of baseball, softball, tennis, track & field, archery, bass fishing or esports season 2, but that obviously merits consideration, even with potentially abbreviated seasons. There is also no current consideration to seeking alternate locations or dates for sports state championship play beyond the currently scheduled dates.
The information related to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) is ever-evolving, and changes happen quickly. We will inform all stakeholders if there are any changes in circumstances. We are hopeful that with all of the collaborative efforts of the citizens of our Commonwealth, we see this situation subside very quickly, and we have to be leaders in that journey. We also encourage all Kentucky citizens to pay close attention to the CDC and Kentucky health information at kycovid19.ky.gov and strictly adhere to those CDC guidelines, which are always subject to revision as we learn more about the virus.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.