The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shut down sports internationally, but the Nebraska School Activities Association is still holding out hope that there still might be an abbreviated spring high school sports season in the state.
With the virus continuing to spread and many schools out indefinitely, NSAA executive director Jay Bellar announced Wednesday that all spring sports activities, both practices and contests, have been suspended until May 1. The NSAA halted practices and competitions for track and field, soccer, baseball, boys golf and girls tennis beginning March 16 for a two-week time frame that was scheduled to end March 30.
“I don’t want to cancel (the spring sports season) and then things get better and not be in a position to at least have something to offer for the kids,” Bellar said. “We might have to come to terms that we won’t be able to do anything this spring, but we at least want to keep the door open.”
With a May 1 start, "it’s doubtful we’ll be able to put on district and state competitions," Bellar said. An extension of the season into early June would also need NSAA board of directors approval.
“It will come down to availability of the facilities we already had lined up (for districts and state) and what we will be allowed to have in terms of the number of people in one place,” Bellar said. “If the limitations are similar to what we had during the (boys) state basketball tournament, that’s something we might be able to work with.”
Attendance at the boys state basketball tournament March 12-14 in Lincoln was limited to immediate family members of the players and coaches involved.
Bellar said an abbreviated spring sports season could include some type of regional championships if district and state competitions can’t be held. Schools will also have the option of moving postponed contests into May if the season does continue.
The current NSAA calendar has soccer district competition starting on May 2 and baseball districts beginning on May 8.
Though some states, including Nebraska, are taking a wait-and-see approach, others have taken more extreme measures.
Kansas announced on March 18 the cancellation of all spring sport seasons and championships.
Other states in the region, like Nebraska, are holding out hope.
* South Dakota: Competitions and practices suspended through May 3.
* Colorado: Competitions and practices suspended through April 18.
* Iowa: Competitions and practices suspended through April 12 (as of March 16).
* Missouri: A revised start date hasn't been set and the MSHAA is already discussing plans for altered postseason formats and change of venues for those events.
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