The last few days have been a whirlwind in the world of sports.
As many sports organizations have exercised precautionary measures to do their part in avoiding the spread of COVID-19, officials at both Cocke County and Cosby high schools remain persistent that they will carry on with their athletics as scheduled until notified differently.
“As of now, Cocke County High School Athletic events are occurring as planned,” CCHS director of athletics A.C. Willis said. “Our athletic department cannot speculate on any future decisions that will be made on the behalf of high school athletics in the state.
“However, we are continually monitoring the situation and will follow all guidance and decisions made by the TSSAA, and the Cocke County Board of Education.”
Cosby High School athletic director Will Lewis echoed the same sentiment when asked about the ongoing situation as it pertains to the school and its athletics.
“We are planning to play our scheduled games but will defer to TSSAA or local and state education agencies on decisions to postpone or suspend any scheduled contests. We will follow any guidelines they suggest,” Lewis said.
Both the NCAA and major professional sports organizations have made the calls over the last two days to suspend and even cancel play, even with major tournaments at play during this time of year.
These decisions have come in an effort to help contain the spread of the virus that entered the country recently and has spread across the globe.
Implications hadn’t reached the high school level of athletics until early Thursday, when the TSSAA initially announced it would continue on with its annual basketball championships with limited attendance, a measure many higher sports organizations had initially taken.
That all changed later in the day, though, as the TSSAA went ahead with suspending the tournaments until further notice.
“Following the conclusion of the girls’ state basketball tournament quarterfinal round today, we are suspending the remainder of the girls’ state tournament and next week’s boys’ state tournament.
“Whether we will be able to reschedule these events will depend on the length of the suspension and the availability of facilities,” the TSSAA said in a statement released Thursday evening.
The TSSAA cited higher sports organizations decisions to also halt or cancel play as a reason for the suspension of the remaining Division I basketball tournaments at this time.
North Carolina, a neighboring state along the eastern border of Tennessee, had high school sports suspended beginning on Friday and remaining suspended through April 6 in a move made by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
On Friday afternoon the TSSAA released a statement stating as of this time whether or not schools suspend or cancel play is completely left up to each system’s own discretion.
“We realize that the situation is changing rapidly and events around the country are influencing what discretion can or cannot be given to administrators. We will continue to monitor the situation and we encourage each member school to consult with their local health department and medical professionals to help with these decisions,” the TSSAA said in its statement.
The statement also noted regular season results were not essential to still hold a postseason in any sport that would lead up to the association’s annual Spring Fling state championship events.
“We realize that a number of districts and regions use regular season results for seeding purposes at postseason tournaments. We encourage administrators to begin conversations with other schools in your district/region to discuss how these cancellations will be treated for the purposes of postseason seeding.
“Should your district/region choose to play a postseason tournament, all schools in your district/region that wish to participate in the tournament must be included in the bracket regardless of how many games each school has played during the regular season,” the statement said.