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AHSAA cancels summer competitions

The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced this week that all summer competitions for 2020 have been cancelled.

In a press release, AHSAA representatives said they were working in conjunction with the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Health on what activities can occur, and the guidelines that will have to be followed, when schools are scheduled to reopen June 8.

Some key dates to keep an eye on for the resumption of athletic activities:

  • May 22 – Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health will update health and reopening guidelines. The AHSAA will also release guidelines for summer workouts.
  • June 8 – Schools are scheduled to reopen with strict rules and physical distancing.
  • June 18 – The Alabama State Department of Education is working with five surrounding states to issue guidelines to reopening schools in the fall.

“It will affect everybody,” said Phil Campbell girls basketball coach Craig Thomas. “We usually play around 20 games during the summer, and that’s almost a full season of games. For younger girls, it will put them behind, but everyone is in the same boat.

“It won’t affect us as bad as it will some teams,” Thomas added, “because I have three senior starters returning. But everyone will be rusty.”

For Tanna Benford at Tharptown, the situation is different. Benford lost four seniors, and summer basketball play dates are a good time to see how a lot of new players will come together.

“We needed to have our summer,” said Benford. “I will have four new starters, and I would have loved to see how they worked with each other on the court and build team chemistry. We will have to find new ways to do that this summer. We will come up with some team-building activities along with our workouts.”

The AHSAA issued other guidelines this week as well:

  • Mandatory summer practices are prohibited, but weightlifting, conditioning, individual skill development and workouts are under the jurisdiction of local schools. However, schools must comply with all ALSDE and ADPH guidelines including the number of students within non-interchangeable groups and the overall number of groups. Local schools may use a process to determine the student-athletes who make up the individual groups.
  • The AHSAA Medical Advisory Board, along with the ALSDE, is creating basic health guidelines for schools to follow once campuses reopen. The minimum guidelines will focus on physical distancing, group activities based on square footage, face coverings, sanitizing equipment and hand washing. The guidelines will be recommendations and left up to local schools to implement and regulate. Expected release date is after May 22.
  • Schools should prepare alternatives for conducting physicals for the upcoming school year. Mass physicals on the same day at one location appear very unlikely. The Medical Advisory Board recommends students get physicals from their primary care providers prior to the first practice date.
  • As always, schools may hold camps with their students and feeder school students.
  • Schools should prepare to provide accommodations for those students who are at risk or whose parents feel it is not yet safe to return to school.
  • Fall sports, such as football and volleyball, can start practice one week earlier if they did not conduct a spring evaluation and may use this week as a tryout period.
  • For this year only, winter sports, such as basketball, may hold an evaluation period during the first two weeks of school, or start practice one week earlier, but not both. In addition, under AHSAA bylaws, winter sports are allowed to hold a regular evaluation period during the second semester.
  • For this year only, spring sports such as baseball, softball and soccer may hold a regular evaluation period any time after the first two weeks of school during the first semester or begin practice one week earlier in January, but not both. In addition, for this year only, if spring sports chose to conduct a regular evaluation period in the fall or start practice one week earlier, they may hold an additional evaluation period in the spring after the completion of their season.

The AHSAA will reconvene with all contingency planning committees and provide an update after the latest guidelines are released by the governor and the ADPH on May 22.