MHSAA cancels sports until the start of the 2020-2021 school year

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 17, 2020

Wednesday, the Mississippi High School Activities Association made the decision to cancel all sports and activities until the start of the next school year due the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made after Governor Tate Reeves announced all schools would be closed until the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said the organization has been hard at work analyzing different scenarios and methods to approach them prior to Reeves’ announcement.

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However, once the decision was made to close schools for the rest of the year the MHSAA had no choice but to follow suit with the cancellation of sports.

“We all understand the importance of spring sports and activities, probably nobody understands that more than we do. But when the governor did what he did it had a huge impact on us,” Hinton said.

Right now the plan is for normal activities to resume on June 1, which has historically been seen as the start of summer activities in the eyes of the MHSAA.

There have been times where the MHSAA implemented a “dead week” prior to the start of summer activities so that athletes could recover, go on vacation, etc.

Hinton said adding a “dead week” is still a possibility and that the MHSAA is also discussing the amount of games programs would compete in over the summer.

Usually there is a limit, but given the loss of spring sports and other time constraints, Hinton said the number of playable games could be increased to allow programs to make up for lost time.

However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the future Hinton said nothing is set in stone, but he’s hopeful by the summer athletes will be able to return to their normal routines.

“Hopefully if all the standards from the President through the Governor and shelter in place (orders) loosen up some, then schools will be able to conduct summer activities in a normal fashion,” Hinton said.

Hinton said a complication the MHSAA is trying to deal with is to make sure no one school has an advantage over another.

Different areas of the state are being affected to varying degrees by COVID-19, and the MHSAA doesn’t want to restart sports until all schools can be conducted normally.

Hinton said prohibiting that advantage is a reason why the MHSAA didn’t just announce the beginning of summer activities when the decision was made for schools to be closed.

Instead the organization is looking at all options when it comes to the safest, fairest way to get sports back up and running across the state.

“Lots of the decisions are based on helping schools and administrators. We have principals and school boards and superintendents in districts that are also concerned about the safety of students,” Hinton said.