After the State Department of Education canceled extra curricular activities, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) had their monthly meeting where they voted unanimously to cancel the 2A-6A State Basketball Championship and all spring sports activities for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.
After approving the first part of the meetings business, OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson explained an update on the State Basketball Tournament and spring activities.
Jackson said they worked with the State Health Department and the events of the Oklahoma City Thunder game the night before the State Championships was part of the decision process.
Due to the contact with the Jazz player and one of the member schools, the decision was made to postpone the State Championship.
With the COVID-19 pandemic growing and with the State Board of Education voting to postpone all Oklahoma schools until April 6, Jackson said it made it difficult to reschedule the State Championships.
“Our plan was to come back after spring break and try to reschedule our basketball tournaments. That became that much more complicated when that time was extended through April 6,” Jackson said. “That made trying to reschedule State Basketball Tournaments extremely difficult. It really started us thinking about what we can do with spring activities. Seeing that coming back from April 6 would cut into a thick portion of our spring activities but we were still working to make that happen.”
Jackson said the staff worked really hard to make the events happen and said he knows that students feel like their activity is important for the schools and families as well.
On March 25, the State Department of Education met to extend the closure for the rest of the school year and Jackson said it was clear that the only option was to cancel all together.
“With the extension through the end of the school year and the action taken by the State Department of Education through the academic school year, that changed things for us,” Jackson said. “We absolutely understand why and again we understand that based on information from the health professionals and what this virus looks like now and even potentially in the future. Extending the closure of schools through May 8, which is probably optimistic, that really changed our course of thinking here. We don’t think that we can play our state basketball championships and again with an optimistic date of May 8 even if we were able to come back on that date based on information from the health professionals about the unknown of this virus and people who can still be infected and not know it. That changed things for us for the spring activities as well.”
Jackson said his recommendation was to cancel and all of the board members approved of the OSSAA action voting to stop sports for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Comanche Lady Indians, who qualified for the Class 3A State Championship, will officially end their season with this declaration and the OSSAA has recommended they get medals and possibly a trophy for qualifying.
One of the board members suggested this and Jackson and the Board President agreed this was a great thing to do and are looking into the possibility of getting this for all schools who qualified for the State Tournament in Class 2A-6A.
This cancellation is for the current school year and they will reevaluate later on how things will look for the summer and fall of 2020 to start next school year.