83ºF

Spring sports in Georgia canceled through rest of school year

The Georgia High School Association canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic season on Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Georgia High School Association canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic season on Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Georgia High School Association has made the agonizing decision to cancel the remainder of the spring sports season and won’t grant students a fifth year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic it announced on Thursday.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that he was signing an executive order to close all K-12 public schools through the end of the school year. Previously, schools in Georgia were closed through April 24. The GHSA said it would make a decision on or before that date regarding the remainder of the spring sports season.

“Given the announcement yesterday by Governor Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in a statement.

“I especially want to commend the graduating seniors who have not only missed most of the spring season but prom, senior nights, awards ceremonies, possibly graduation, and spent the last few months away from their friends and classmates. Our seniors have a great deal to be proud of and while this is not the way any of us wanted it to end, I want to thank them for a job well done.”

The potential to grant students an additional year of eligibility due to the loss of spring sports was discussed, but ultimately denied by the GHSA.

“There have been quite a few requests for the GHSA to allow a 5th year of eligibility to students due to this crisis. There are no plans to grant an additional year,” Hines said.

“As sad and disappointing as this spring has been, there is a backward trickle effect and there are many unintended consequences associated with waiving this by-law. GHSA activities and sports are education-based and exist as an extension of the classroom. The culmination of all activities of a student is to lead to graduation and this will have taken place for our seniors. This is not the situation any of us would like to be in but the 8-semester rule will remain in effect.”

High school sports in Florida, at least for today, are still on pause.

The Florida High School Athletic Association said on Tuesday that it would continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Department of Education recommended that all school districts keep students out of schools through Friday, May 1. The earliest return date for students is May 4.

The FHSAA said that it was exploring the possibility of an adjusted spring season that could run through June 30.


About the Author: