MARCH WAS MADDENING LAST WEEK IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
March Madness took on another meaning for everyone in the sports world last week – a week like none other in the history of organized sports with the acceleration of the Coronavirus (COVID‑19) in the United States.
The Madness was not the bouncing of basketballs in arenas around the country. Instead it was organization after organization trying to determine the viability of continuing to operate – particularly after the suspension of the NBA season and the cancellation of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
And NFHS‑member state high school associations were among those organizations faced with making decisions because the heightened state of the Coronavirus pandemic occurred in the middle of state high school basketball tournaments across the country. While 13 states had completed their tournaments, the remainder were faced with tough decisions throughout the week.
By the end of the week, another four states were able to complete their girls and boys basketball tournaments – although all of these states had to impose extreme limits on the number of fans in attendance.
About two‑thirds of our member state associations had to shut down their tournaments. At this point, 19 state associations have cancelled their state basketball tournaments, while 15 others have postponed or suspended their events, although the hope of completing them seems to fade with each passing day.
In addition to basketball, some states were in the midst of conducting ice hockey, gymnastics and swimming championships. While most of those sports championships, along with wrestling, were completed, some states were forced to suspend or cancel these as well.