(Citynet Statewide Sportsline interview with WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Governor Jim Justice announced Tuesday afternoon that school buildings throughout West Virginia will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today I’m going to order that we’re not going to be able to go back to school in the buildings that exist there now,” Justice said at his daily press briefing.
Following that announcement, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan confirmed that the high school basketball postseason tournaments, which were have been suspended since March 12, are canceled. Spring sport seasons for baseball, softball, tennis and track and field are also canceled.
The WVSSAC released this statement Tuesday:
“We were already up against a pretty tight timeline,” Dolan said. “Even if we went in after the first of May, we were going to be really tight with a short regular season and a short postseason. We were waiting and hoping. In the back of our minds, we probably knew this was the answer that was going to come out.
“You have to hope and you have to be prepared in case things do turn in the right direction. Things never really got out of hand in West Virginia but we were never really in complete control either.”
15 girls basketball teams and 32 boys basketball teams were still alive in postseason play at the time of the suspension. 9 of the 21 games at the girls state tournament were completed. 16 boys basketball teams had clinched spots in the Class AAA and Class A state tournaments by winning their regionals. 16 more teams had yet to play their Class AA regionals.
Previously, the WVSSAC said they were looking at contingency plans to allow a shortened regular season and a compressed postseason for spring sport teams. But Dolan stated that all of those plans were contingent on the reopening of schools on or around May 1.
Dolan added that guidance will be forthcoming to schools regarding the three-week summer workout window that teams can utilize anytime in the months of June or July.
“Each county sets their own window. They just have to be consecutive and you have to have the ‘dead week’ of July 4.”