The Colorado High School Activities Association has extended the suspension of spring sports activities through April 30 because of COVID-19.
Following Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement Wednesday to keep public and private schools closed and operating online with remote learning through at least April 30, CHSAA followed suit to prohibit spring sports activities, including competition and practice, through the same date after it had originally suspended activities through April 6 and then to April 18.
The action is in an effort to limit the fast spread of the new coronavirus, which has become a global pandemic with roughly 245,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 6,000 deaths with more than one million cases worldwide and the death toll at nearly 53,000.
“Any decisions regarding spring activities potentially resuming will depend on students’ abilities to return to in-person instruction,” CHSAA said in a news release to CHSAANow.com.
CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green has been careful not to speculate on what spring sports seasons would look like if competition did resume at some point during the school year. In an uncertain time, no plans can be made until stay-at-home orders are lifted and students can return to classrooms.
Not only does the CHSAA suspension apply to sports, but to all school activities such as band, debate clubs and more.
By following the governor’s guidelines and not canceling the entire spring season like the NCAA has for college sports, high school athletes in Colorado still have some small chance of salvaging part of their season.
“We are grateful to have some hope. The kids need it,” said Durango School District 9-R Athletic Director Ryan Knorr. “Whether it’s going to happen, I don’t know, but the kids knowing there is a chance goes a long way. Our coaches have done an unbelievable job staying in contact, either sending workouts or even just checking in on the players. Kids buy in with that as long as they think a season is possible.”
Coaches and players have settled into a new normal over the last two weeks. Still, they are itching to get back to school, practices and games if the opportunity does come.
“We are trying to stay positive,” said Durango High School baseball coach Rob Coddington, who has begun to conduct online video chats with his players this week. “It’s hard to think something will come of this spring, but we are being optimistic and keeping something at the end of the tunnel and trying to have something to look forward to. I’ve talked to so many coaches around the state, and everyone is trying to get their fix in creative ways. We are sports people. We want to be coaching. But we also want everybody to be safe and healthy.”
Coddington, a social studies teacher at DHS, has stayed busy producing online classes for students. He said DHS teachers have come together to provide engaging material for students learning from home.
Knorr would support CHSAA delivering a chance for athletes to compete for state championships and said nobody would have a competitive edge because the entire state is dealing with the same situation.
“There is a giant asterisk next to spring 2020. It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Knorr said. “I have a feeling our kids would jump at the chance to compete, and I think our community would jump at an opportunity to watch them, too.”
Coddington said if there is any chance of a Class 4A state baseball tournament even as late as June, his team would want to compete.
“For me, and the kids feel it to, right now we all want to stay healthy. But as soon as the kids can get on the baseball field, no matter in what form or fashion, that’s going to be a bonus,” Coddington said. “High school athletes want to play. Little League kids want to play. It’s all over the country. The second fields open up and the country has a clean bill of health, we are going to get out there.
“My wife is a nurse. A lot of the kids on our team, their parents are firefighters, police officers, medical workers. Right now, our thoughts are with those people. I truly believe once this is all over, it will put in perspective why we love things like high school baseball and college and pro sports. We love it, but right now it’s about keeping everybody healthy.”