By Sean Dunlap
The Mississippi High School Activities Association issued its second suspension of athletic competition for the spring sports season due to widespread coronavirus concerns.
The move came one day after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued an order closing all public schools through at least Friday, April 17.
In addition to the latest suspension, the MHSAA announced the state archery championships have been officially cancelled and will not be made up due to what was called “scheduling and logistical issues.”
The archery championships were originally slated for April 7-10 at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.
“The MHSAA Executive Committee and MHSAA Sports Medicine Committee were in accordance with an extension until April 17,” MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said in a written statement.
“Like many associations around the South and throughout the nation, the MHSAA will continue to monitor and evaluate this situation as we move into April. But as long as schools remain closed on a statewide basis, return to competition and practice will not be an option.”
The MHSAA had originally suspended all athletic competition and practices through Sunday, March 29, and the latest decision by the state’s high school athletics sanctioning body pushes various spring sports off for another three weeks.
Sports impacted by the decision include baseball, softball, golf, powerlifting, tennis as well as track and field.
The question now — and when it will be answered seems about as predictable as knowing when coronavirus will reach its conclusion — will be whether these sports will be played in some form or fashion before the summer.
Spring sports — at least at the junior college level — have already been cancelled by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
As for now, the MHSAA has given no official indication which way it is leaning about spring sports, but has stated a decision on whether or not to continue spring contests and activities will be made as soon as possible in the best interests of the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and communities.
Also last week, the MHSAA Executive Committee voted to cancel spring football practice for the remainder of the current school year.
Hinton said the committee will look at adding an additional week of preseason practice prior to the start of the 2020 football season.
Spring football typically begins in April at most public high schools.
Preseason drills are set to begin Monday, Aug. 3, but the MHSAA will study exactly how it can add an additional week of practice.