MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three days after the boys and girls high school basketball postseasons were suspended and two days after spring sport practices and extracurricular activities were halted, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan provided an update on Citynet Statewide Sunday Sportsline.
Dolan said all basketball tournaments remain suspended, and not yet canceled. 16 of the 24 boys regional contests and 9 of the 21 girls state tournament contests were completed prior to Thursday’s suspension of all games.
“When they cut (NCAA) March Madness, when they cut the Big 12 Tournament out completely, I think people realized the seriousness of it,” Dolan said. “On a smaller scale to our kids, they really don’t care about the NCAA Tournament. It is their tournament. It is the biggest thing they are going to be in for most of them in their lives. They wanted it. We wanted it. And we tried to go as long as we could. At that point, we were just about out of options.”
All extracurricular activities statewide were halted on Friday through at least April 10. Superintendent Clayton Burch will evaluate the situation during the week of April 6. Dolan says the window for resumption of basketball tournaments may be closing soon.
“I would think we are right on the verge of whether you can do it or not. On Friday, the state superintendent said it will be (the week of) April 10th before we reevaluate. At that point, I really don’t have much hope to resurrect it at that point. March 30 is a little bit more doable. We might have to be creative. But I think we will wait and see.”
Late Sunday evening, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that gatherings of 50 or more people in the United States be canceled or postponed for a period of eight weeks.
“Everyday if you try to make a decision on the facts you have today, they are different tomorrow. I try not to do many ‘what-ifs’ publicly. But we are working through those with the members of our staff.”
Spring sport (baseball, softball, tennis, track) teams had already begun their preseason practice windows on March 2. All of those sports previously could have held their first official contests March 18. If spring sports are able to restart, they will face compressed regular seasons.
“If they still have to get their fourteen practices in, by rule we are almost into regional tennis (May 4) before anyone is even eligible. The next week is regional track and then we are into sectional softball. I think those are decisions where we want to look at all possibilities. You certainly don’t want to say yes to one sport and no to another.”
While schools and extracurricular activities are halted, Dolan says coaches can not allow athletes to practice or work out at team facilities.
“Schools should not allow people in their facilities without supervision. Our coaches are not allowed to coach at this point. It creates a liability for them. They will have to refrain from that.”