Everyone saw it coming but no one wanted to admit on record.
Georgia High School Association Executive Director Robin Hines made it public Thursday afternoon: the spring sports season has officially been canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Brian Kemp's order to close all schools for the remainder of the current school year. He also announced a mandatory shelter in place order for the entire state on Wednesday.
"Given the announcement yesterday by Gov, Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year," 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."
It's been a topic of discussion for several weeks now. The spring sports season showed a lot of promise for the area's teams before the COVID-19 shutdown.
Although no legislation has been introduced across the country, some have requested a fifth year of eligibility for seniors. Hines squashed that rumor in his statement on Thursday.
"There have been quite a few requests for the GHSA to allow a fifth year of eligibility to students due to this crisis," he said. "There are no plans to grant an additional year. 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."
Summer team camps and football preseason workouts like 7-on-7 and team camps could possibly be in jeopardy as well if the COVID-19 is not slowed. Hines, however, said there is not enough information to make a decision on summer activities right now.
"We await guidance from the NCAA on the Men's Basketball Recruiting Event and will inform you where that stands as soon as we know something," he said. "As I stated in the newsletter earlier this week, I am concerned about the summer as well as the fall. I am hoping for the best but there is no information available that would allow for any decision regarding when practices and workouts will be allowed. There are no GHSA activities or practices allowed until further notice."