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COVID-19 sidelines spring sports’ season

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

A world without sports. This sounded like a world I did not want to live in, but it has become reality. COVID-19 has shut down most things throughout the world, including the start of the high school spring sports’ season.

On Friday, March 13, Governor Tony Evers’ ordered the closure of all public and private Wisconsin schools for purposes of pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, beginning Wednesday, March 18 with an anticipated reopening on April 6. The date of reopening is subject to change pending further information.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) responded with these guidelines on Monday.

There will be no WIAA athletics at any member school from Wednesday, March 18 to Monday, April 6. This is information that will be updated as information becomes available.

“The Governor just announced that schools will be closed for the duration of the health emergency,” WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki explained. “I would anticipate longer than April 6.”

This includes all participation including, but not limited to training, practices, scrimmages and contests. 

Schools and/or coaches may not bring students together during this time period for extracurricular or athletic purposes such as practices or other instructional/organizational purposes.

“The Governor’s declaration does not allow any coaching (instruction) with the school/coach,” Labecki said. 

Schools and/or coaches may not be involved with students during their time period to provide instruction for practice purposes.

Coaches may provide individual workouts virtually, but shall not encourage or organize their team assembling to practice. 

“The coach may provide individual workouts after the first allowed day, but no coaching contact or instruction,” Labecki said.

The track and field season officially started on March 9. Softball practice had started on Monday. In addition to that, pitchers instruction week for baseball was set for March 15-21. 

“Softball was able to start Monday if schools allowed it. All sports are done on Wednesday, March 18 at 5 p.m.,” Labecki said. “If track and softball started at a school, they may compete after five days of practice.”

Sports like girls’ soccer, baseball (full team), boys’ tennis and golf had yet to officially start their season. Once they do, they must have a set number of practices before competing in any games. 

“Baseball, soccer and softball must have seven practices before competing. Golf is three and tennis is two practices before contests,” Labecki said.

For now the high school spring sports’ season is put on hold. Hopefully there will come a time where we all can go out and enjoy the season.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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