On Monday afternoon, Governor Andy Beshear recommended that students not return to in-class instruction this school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took less than 24 hours for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to respond to that decision.
The organization announced on Tuesday the cancelation off all spring sports activities and extended the Coronavirus dead period until further notice.
The KHSAA will also not try to resume the boys and girls Sweet 16 basketball tournaments.
The KHSAA Board of Control approved Commissioner Julian Tackett's proposal by a unanimous vote.
The announcement means that there will be no 2020 state championships for six sports — archery, bass fishing, e-sports, baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field.
“We have, until this point, purposely taken a measured approach to the resumption of our basketball events and consideration of the ending of the spring seasons for sports and sport-activities,” Tackett said. “We have accepted continual guidance from a variety of sources, and have steadfastly held on to hope that the great student-athletes who represent their schools through a variety of teams would have an opportunity to compete this season."
All school-sponsored sports activities were suspended on March 13 by the KHSAA and the dead period was extended until May 1 earlier this month.
The news wasn't surprising, but it was still heartbreaking for many Madison County athletes, especially seniors who play spring sports.
'I’ll never be able to play for Madison Southern again," Madison Southern senior baseball player Britten Robinson posted on Twitter. "This one hurts — a lot."
"Never take your senior year for granted," Southern senior tennis player Maggie Brock posted on Twitter. "In the future, live everyday of the school year like it’s March 13th. Show up to games, cheer your heart out, and enjoy spending time with your friends while you can. This has been one of the hardest days of our lives."
Tennis, track, baseball and softball had not officially started the 2020 regular season when the COVID-19 crisis hit Kentucky, but most teams had already begun practice and some even held exhibition games.
Archery teams had competed at KHSAA and NASP (National Archery in the School Program) events for several months.
The pandemic brought high school sports in Kentucky to a halt in the middle of the girls state basketball tournament. The opening day of the event was played at Rupp Arena and the first game of the second day was completed before it was postponed.
The boys Sweet 16 was set for the following week at Rupp Arena.
None of those games were ever played.
“Nothing in mine, or frankly, anyone else’s professional career completely prepared me for this situation since mid-March and the related subsequent decisions. That was probably the hardest thing to deal with,” Tackett said. “These kids don’t get a chance to finish, especially the seniors, and it is as though they were robbed by an invisible enemy. It is sometimes a little easier in life when there is someone to blame. With this, however, there isn’t. We are all together fighting the same enemy with the same desired outcome."
KHSAA officials now have to focus on the next battle — how to proceed with preparing for fall sports.
The organization's press release stated the board and staff will continue discussions over the coming weeks to attempt to address those issues.
“It is far too early in this process and battle against this virus to place an absolute planned schedule or dates out there,” Tackett said. “We remain optimistic about the fall season, even if it isn’t exactly per normal, but we will adhere to the guidance of both federal and state health officials, as well as our own Department of Education and the Governor’s office in planning our next steps in the coming weeks and months.”