A sign sits on one of Oconee Veteran Park’s field as it has since March 12 when spring sports were suspended.

The dormant soccer pitches, tennis courts, baseball fields and lacrosse fields will stay quiet for the remainder of the 2020 spring season.

Novel coronavirus has prompted Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to extend the order to keep all Georgia schools limited to online learning for the rest of the current school year.

With that order comes the cancellation of the rest of the spring sports calendar that had been suspended since March 12.

The Georgia High School Association had been hopeful that if schools were going to return to campuses at some point during this school year, then there would be sports in some fashion. That hope was fleeting and went out with Kemp’s extension of on campus learning.

The GHSA was set to meet on Friday to discuss options for the completion of the 2020 spring sports seasons.

Kemp’s announcement was made on Wednesday making the meeting and the options the GHSA was set to discuss irrelevant.

The cancellation of spring sports doesn’t bring the concerns and questions to an end for the GHSA. Their focus now turns to what the summer will look like and how will the fall sports calendar be affected by COVID-19 if at all.

There aren’t enough answers to the questions needed to make decisions moving past what happens after the school year ends.

“Most of what we were going to talk about was eliminated by the governor’s ruling with shutting schools down,” GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines told The Oconee Enterprise. “We’re certainly not going to play when schools aren’t in and that just doesn’t leave us any time. Once kids are graduated it’s time to move on. Right now we’re concentrating on the summer and we’re still in the same pattern. We’re considering decisions based on information we don’t have yet.”

Hines’ concerns lie with the physical shape of football players when the season is allowed to begin in the fall.

Players will miss their spring workouts on school campuses and spring football practice.

There is a growing assumption that many of their summer practices could be wiped out as well as their summer weight lifting regimens.

“Coaches are probably in touch electronically with their kids and have means for them to workouts on their own, but you know it’s not the same,” Hines said. “Right now, we’re just hoping for a normal summer. We talk about things like when does this begin to affect play in the fall? When does a lack being able to be together start to cause some safety issues?”

Hines has fielded calls and emails from coaches about the GHSA granted an extra year to student athletes due to the cancellations.

Hines and the board of trustees all agreed that option wasn’t something that could be done due to the bottleneck that takes place in the long term within programs.

“If you do that, there’s a backward trickle effect that happens,” Hines told The Oconee Enterprise. “These seniors didn’t get their senior and I understand that and it breaks my heart but then next year’s seniors if these seniors stay around and take their place then they don’t get a senior season. It’s been presented to us and people have mentioned giving everybody another year. You can’t do that. We’re not going to wave the rules. The eligibility rules are in place and they work for us and that’s what we’re going to do. It was unanimous among the board of trustees in the way that they think about it.”

As it is, fall practices are set to begin on the first day August with the exception being football that begins acclimation on July 27. Most games will be allowed to begin on Aug. 10. Football’s first games will start on Aug. 21.

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