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CHSAA suspends all spring sports because of coronavirus

Activities on hold until at least April 6

High school sports are on hold. State basketball tournaments will continue, for now.

The Colorado High School Activities Association announced Thursday afternoon that all spring sports and activities will be suspended until at least April 6 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams with games scheduled for Thursday, such as Durango High School baseball, could play those games if the school district allowed.

That suspension of activities included all games and practices in an effort to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. It is possible the suspension of spring activities will last longer than April 6, and it is possible springs activities will be canceled completely.

“The situation will be monitored and evaluated with key decision-makers from around the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season,” read a CHSAANow.com news release.

Still, the state basketball tournaments have continued Thursday. Ignacio High School’s boys and girls are scheduled to play in Class 2A state quarterfinal games this evening. Wednesday night, CHSAA announced the games would be closed to all non-essential game personnel. Hours later, CHSAA backtracked and said it would allow all players to invite four family members or guests. CHSAA would waive the cost of tickets. Those who had purchased tickets in advance would receive a refund.

Basketball in Colorado continued while state tournaments in Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas had been called off. After the completion of Thursday night’s games, CHSAA decided to cancel the rest of the tournaments.

As well as sports, all after-school activities are to be suspended. The state speech tournament, student leadership Advisor U and all music festivals will be suspended.

Bayfield School District its spring play at the Performing Arts Center would go on Thursday and Friday.

Durango School District 9-R athletic director Ryan Knorr was one of about 50 school administrators in the conference call Thursday morning with CHSAA. He believes the right decision was made and supported a temporary suspension rather than a complete cancellation of spring sports at this time.

“I think everybody is taking the necessary precautions and being as careful around this as they can,” Knorr said. “It was a pretty unified decision that the best thing for the next three weeks is to cancel and re-evaluate. If you look across the nation, that’s exactly what is happening. This decision aligns with the tenants of everybody’s precautions right now.”

Spring sports include: baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming, girls tennis and boys and girls track and field.

“I want to thank the Board of Directors, membership and CHSAA staff for their support and guidance,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in the news release. “The collaborative decision-making has been in the best interest of our students and school communities, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

As the NCAA announced it would cancel all winter sports postseason play, including the NCAA college basketball tournaments, several conferences also announced either the suspension or cancellation of all spring sports. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, in which Durango’s Fort Lewis College competes, had not made any announcement about spring sports as of 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

“These are goofy times,” Knorr said. “Hearing March Madness is completely canceled, for whatever reason that’s more scary than hearing Gov. Jared Polis say Colorado is in a state of emergency. It’s almost more real when it affects your pastimes.”

Knorr said CHSAA and district officials did not begin to plan for sports after the April 6 timeline. He is unsure if games not played during the suspension would be able to be made up, and he does not think it would be safe for athletes to immediately transition to playing games after three weeks without practice.

“Everything is up in the air right now,” Knorr said. “Safety has to be a factor. You don’t just pick up game play on Monday when everybody comes back. I imagine it would gradually progress back into competition. I hope we are able to make up some games, but you can’t play five games a week. I imagine there would be some restrictions on that, too. I hope we will be able to salvage some of the spring season, and I’m optimistic it will be able to resume after April 6.”

This is a developing story. For more information, follow www.durangoherald.com


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