Sports Cancellations Due to COVID-19

Winter sports and trips have been cancelled due to the spreading coronavirus

The+OSAA+updates+as+more+information+is+available+to+athletes

The OSAA updates as more information is available to athletes

Melia Rasmussen and Leah Bueno

     The month of March has not been an exceedingly joyful time for many sports fans. After Utah Jazz performer Donovan Mitchell and the first national basketball player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for the coronavirus, the NBA has suspended all games until further notice. That includes the famous March Madness basketball bracket that fans use to follow their favorite teams throughout the tournament. Major League Baseball has also suspended all operations like spring training, delaying the start of the regular season. 

     Yet what shook the WAHS sports world more than any of this was the announcement yesterday, March 12, that all winter sports games would be cancelled in an effort to slow the spreading virus.

     “What the OSAA has done so far has cancelled the winter sports championships,” said athletic director Pat Richards. These championships include the basketball tournament that was scheduled to be played on Thursday, March 12 at 9 a.m. and any subsequent game, and the Hi-Stepper State competition scheduled on Friday, March 20. These championships will not be rescheduled.

     The school and district had no control over these cancellations, Richard said; the OSAA was trying to avoid having large crowds get together. Previously, practices and other games were still allowed, but with no spectators. Now, due to the school closure effective Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 31, all sports practices and field trips have also been cancelled. A list of current cancellations has been created on WAHS home page.

     “I know that if I were a player, especially a senior, it would’ve broken my heart,” said assistant basketball coach Lucas Risinger. For some seniors, sports are a big deal. It’s the year they’re the top dogs of the team and their last shot at heading to playoffs. 

     Trips like the four-day stay in Arizona that the baseball team had planned are also cancelled. They are trying to get back as much of the money as they can, but unfortunately not all of it can be returned. Richard said they will try to lighten that money shortage, but no one plans for these things to happen.

     “Because this [virus] is a national thing… when it comes to the airlines, it comes to hotels and different things, a lot of them have maybe dropped their restrictions when it comes to refunds,” said Richards. The varsity softball team was set to play a two-day tournament in Redmond over spring break, but due to trips being cancelled, they can no longer go. Softball coach Ryan Borde said the athletic department handles the rescheduling of any games, and that the OSAA has the final say in when sports will resume.

     “I really hope your student athletes across the state get a chance to play this year—especially the seniors,” said Borde. “But I understand that this is a major issue… and everyone’s health is more important than a sporting event.”

     As of right now, there have been no updates on the continuity of spring sports after this suspension. Practices on school grounds have been suspended until further notice and all practice faculties have been closed, denying availability to anyone. Attempts to organize off-campus workouts are also discouraged.  

     With closures and cancellations seemingly happening in rapid succession, Richards said it’s important to take a step back and think rationally. This is a trying time for a multitude of people, and most have been affected by recent events one way or another. 

     “A lot of smart people are working hard on this. There are a lot of good resources for the school,” Richards said. “I think [it would] pay for people to just really trust them.” He adds that the school district, the state of Oregon, and the OSAA are working to get information and take the necessary precautions. Emotions are tense, but the fact of the matter, Richards said, is that their decisions are being made to protect people.

 

Edit: Statewide school closure has been extended to April 28 as of  Tuesday, March 17.

Edit: Governor Brown has announced that school has been cancelled for the rest of the remaining year as of Wednesday, April 8. The OSAA has cancelled all remaining spring sports for this season.