The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association voted unanimously on Thursday to cancel the 2A-6A state basketball tournaments and spring athletics for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year over concerns of the global novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a special meeting via teleconference, the OSSAA Board of Directors voted 13-0 to cancel the postponed basketball tournaments and any upcoming spring athletics. This comes one day after the state Department of Education voted to close school buildings and facilities through the end of the school year.
OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said that after gathering information from state health officials and following the decision made by the Department of Education, it would be difficult to return to play under the current health conditions.
“With the increase number of cases we’ve seen in Oklahoma with the coronavirus, and the information we’ve got from our health professionals, we don’t feel like it would be the responsible thing to do to think we can complete out state basketball tournaments, or even our spring activities,” Jackson said in the meeting.
The board also discussed the possibility of still honoring the accomplishments of the affected athletes this summer, which included possibly giving medals to all state tournament qualifying teams.
The Hartshorne Lady Miners were one of the teams set to participate in the state basketball playoffs that were postponed on March 12, but now coach Mark Woolard is left to wonder what could have been. He said his team is taking the news in stride, but they still feel a lot of emotions.
"It’s disappointing for the whole community, the whole town and the whole school, and the players that have been working since the first of October,” Woolard said. “(But) they’re handling it fine."
Woolard knows that the decision was made to keep players and spectators safe, but that it will have a lasting effect on his players, especially his seniors.
“That just takes the cake,” Woolard said. "Our whole world is turned upside down, but theirs almost seems nonexistent."
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