School closure ends spring sports season

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The closure of schools for the rest of the school year also means that the remainder of spring school sports seasons have also been cancelled.

  • The Franklin County Lion baseball seniors were recognized before their final game at Jackson County in Jefferson last month. Their season, and the seasons of all spring sports athletes, ended Thursday when Gov. Brian Kemp closed schools for the rest of the school year.
    The Franklin County Lion baseball seniors were recognized before their final game at Jackson County in Jefferson last month. Their season, and the seasons of all spring sports athletes, ended Thursday when Gov. Brian Kemp closed schools for the rest of the school year.
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CARNESVILLE – The closure of schools for the rest of the school year also means that the remainder of spring school sports seasons have also been cancelled.

The Georgia High School Association confirmed the cancellation of the rest of spring sports seasons with an announcement on its website Friday.

“Given the announcement yesterday by Governor Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year,” GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines wrote Thursday.

In Franklin County, the end of spring sports cut short the baseball, tennis, track, golf, slow-pitch softball and soccer seasons.

“I hate it. I really do,” Franklin County Athletic Director Jason Oliver said. “It’s just where we’re at.”

The abrupt end to the seasons cut short the high school careers of senior members of the spring sports teams.

“I especially want to commend the graduating seniors who have not only missed most of the spring season but prom, senior nights, awards ceremonies, possibly graduation and spent the last few months away from their friends and classmates,” Hines said. “Our seniors have a great deal to be proud of and while this is not the way any of us wanted it to end, I want to thank them for a job well done.”

Hines said that the GHSA has been asked about granting a “fifth year of eligibility” to current seniors due to the circumstances.

“There are no plans to grant an additional year,” the GHSA director said. “As sad and disappointing as this spring has been, there is a backward trickle effect and there are many unintended consequences associated with waiving this by-law. GHSA activities and sports are education-based and exist as an extension of the classroom. The culmination of all activities of a student is to lead to graduation and this will have taken place for our seniors. This is not the situation any of us would like to be in but the eight-semester rule will remain in effect.”

Oliver said that he is disappointed for seniors and all of the players because of the opportunities they will miss.

Sports allows those participating to have “experiences that we all carry with us. You carry that with you the rest of your life. You get four years to create whatever memories [you can],” he said.

Whether athletes were seniors or freshmen, they have missed opportunities to make those memories, Oliver said.

“You got four years and that’s all you get,” he said.

The way the season was ended by the coronavirus will now be part of their memories, he said, along with those experiences they did get to have.

“This will be a part of their story,” Oliver said.

Oliver said he is concerned now with the transition to summer workouts going into fall sports.

It is a concern shared by Hines and the GHSA.

“Moving forward to this summer, there is not enough information to make decisions at this time … I am concerned about the summer as well as the fall,” Hines wrote. “I am hoping for the best but there is no information available that would allow for any decision regarding when practices and workouts will be allowed. There are no GHSA activities or practices allowed until further notice.”

Oliver said that if the restrictions due to the coronavirus continue into the summer, it will be difficult for sports like football to get ready for the season.

Athletes that had been training and lifting weights for months can lose much of their fitness in just weeks of inactivity, he said.

Summer time is also a prime fundraising time for the athletic program, Oliver said.

Many business supporters have shut down or had to cut employees, which may make it hard to garner sponsorships and donations.

There’s a lot of unknowns still out there, he said.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Oliver said.