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SCHSL not ready to cancel spring season yet

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 4/3/20

The South Carolina High School isn't ready to throw in the towel on the spring sports season just yet.

During its scheduled teleconference on Thursday, the SCHSL Executive Committee said it will leave the door open for the possibility of having …

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SCHSL not ready to cancel spring season yet

Posted

The South Carolina High School isn't ready to throw in the towel on the spring sports season just yet.

During its scheduled teleconference on Thursday, the SCHSL Executive Committee said it will leave the door open for the possibility of having some sort of spring sports season should students be allowed to return to public schools after the schools were shut down due to the coronavirus.

That decision brought a mixed response from local high school athletics directors.

"No, I wasn't surprised," said Sumter High AD Curtis Johnson. "I think the High School League is trying to do everything it can to give the athletes a chance to play if school does resume. They're also following what our governor and elected officials are saying to do. I think they are doing a good job of going basically a couple of weeks at a time, waiting to see if something is changing or if it's still the same before making complete decisions."

Lakewood's Frankie Ward is thinking like Johnson.

"I think they've been trying to play the whole time," Ward said. "I don't think they had no intentions of cancelling anything outright. Their goal is to have sports, just like our goal is."

Governor Henry McMaster extended his mandate of no school for public school students through April 30. If students aren't in school, then there can be no extracurricular activities.

The executive committee has scheduled another teleconference for April 22.

Manning High AD Reggie Kennedy said the move not to just cancel spring sports did surprise him.

"Just by what had been done on the collegiate level. I kind of thought they'd follow their blueprint," Kennedy said. "You just didn't know when we'll go back to school. You know, I was just thinking safety first."

Crestwood AD Dwayne Edwards believes the safety of student-athletes and coaches has always been at the forefront of the thinking by the SCHSL. However, he believes if the opportunity presents itself, the high school league will have some sort of spring sports season.

"I knew if there was any chance possible they were going to try and do something with the season, but to me this thing has gotten so serious," Edwards said. "I think if there is any chance at all we can go back to school, they'll try to do something for the athletes, especially the seniors."

Not only have games been postponed, but all practices, conditioning, strength training and open season skill development sessions are off limits as well. The SCHSL is looking into ways though to do virtual conditioning and still not violate any health or safety conditions.

"We are still following the guidelines and parameters set by state and national governing bodies," SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton said in a press release. "It is our hope to not have to cancel the season and be able to take advantage of all dates at our disposal once schools reopen.

"We are excited at the idea of providing another form of interaction between our coaches and student-athletes that will keep them safe but also allow fellowship and conditioning. We must seek avenues digitally and virtually that can improve the separation anxiety some may be experiencing. These are trying times that require some innovative methods to conquer."

"It's going to come down to if they'll let kids virtually condition, that kind of stuff," Ward said. "If they OK that, the possibility they lift the (no school restrictions) the first of May, you may have some kids who may be conditioned a little better. We'll have to wait and see."

Johnson said there is not a whole lot of preparation the ADs can do at this time should the schools reopen and the seasons started.

"We're all really all in the same situation," he said. "It's a wait-and-see mode, but if that were to happen it would be a mad dash to schedule officials and all that. We're a long way from that though.

"Once there is a firm date or conclusion, then there's some things that we can do."