As days go by, chances for having a spring season diminish

When Pennsylvania schools were closed last Friday in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the hope was that they would be able to start up again March 30.

Mary Kate Norcross at PIAA

But as the days go by, that date is looking more and more unrealistic.

In addition to everything else that COVID-19 has affected, the spring season for high school sports is very much in jeopardy. That also includes the unfinished state basketball playoffs and Class 2A swimming states.

Chambersburg athletic director Jeremy Flores said, “I like to look on the optimistic side and think we can do a shortened season. But when you look at what they’re now saying, it could be eight weeks or so until people are able to gather again, and that’s the whole spring season.

“Plus, if we do come back and are able to play, you can’t go from zero to 60 — there will have to be a grace period to get teams back to being ready. And, we hadn’t gotten in the 15 days of practice we’re required to have before we can play actual games.”

Apparently, some teams in Pennsylvania had been getting together informally to keep practicing, but the PIAA issued a statement Monday that “organizing captain’s practices or informal workouts offsite … are not permitted.”

Flores said, “We told our coaches when we announced that school was closing that they were not to get together to practice, even if they were on offsite locations. I’m happy our coaches have adhered to that.

“What we’ve suggested to coaches is that they check in on their players to see how they’re doing, or maybe suggest some workouts they could do to stay ready.”

Also on Monday, District 3 interim executive director Dr. Ron Kennedy and executive directors of the six leagues in the district met to discuss the situation, scheduling and participation.

After a 90-minute meeting, “the group decided not to produce a timetable for spring sports contests or championships given the uncertainty of the disease’s potential spread in the District 3 geographic area,” according to a press release, and that it would follow PIAA’s direction on how to proceed.

It’s quite possible that in the very near future, the date for schools to reopen will get pushed back. But even if it’s only for another two weeks, to mid-April, that could be enough to wipe out the spring sports season.

“Obviously, we can’t make any definitive statements on how long this could go on, but the longer it goes, the less chance we have to be able to eventually play,” Flores said. “I’d like to be optimistic, but at the same time — because there is so much unknown — it’s hard to say for sure we’ll be back.”