PIERRE, S.D. (KELO)- The South Dakota High School Activities Association met on Friday to look at what to do now that schools are closed until May due to COVID-19.
There were two important topics on the agenda. The first topic was how to handle the spring sports season that has been suspended until May 4 and what to do with the postponed activities from the winter sports season.
The meeting started with the SDHSAA making it clear that all of their proposals would be based on three things:
- Assuming schools would return by May 4.
- CDC guidelines allowing the activities and gatherings.
- Activities stay on the weekends or other days that don’t take the students out of school.
SDHSAA Executive Director Daniel Swartos quickly stated what most people would assume.
“If school is called off for the remainder of the year, then we would follow and cancel all activities,” Swartos said.
The activities association did not make any major changes but did announce a plan for all the remaining activities, if everything continues the way it is going.
The meeting started by talking about how to handle the suspended spring sports season.
Spring Activities Plan
|All-State Jazz Band||Moved to May 15 and 16|
|Tennis||Modified State Tournament: AA on May 22 and A on May 23|
|Track and Field||Region/Qualifying Tournaments on Saturday, May 23rd|
|Golf||Region meets the week of May 26; State Tournament on June 1 and 2|
If school starts again in May, the activities association would allow two weeks of practice for the teams.
SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jo Auch pitched two ideas for the state tennis tournament. The above option is the recommendation from the SDHSAA as it would be easier for the schools and to get the tournament finished.
SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand said that leaving the track and field state tournament on May 29-30 would be the recommendation. Krogstrand also said that with the limited amount of time, he thinks a region/qualifying meet on May 23 would be the best way to set state qualifiers.
The state golf tournament was perhaps the least talked about tournament for the spring sports season. The tournament isn’t scheduled until June 1-2. Krogstrand did recommend having region meets for class ‘A’ and ‘B’ being sometime around May 26.
Region Music was talked about, but very briefly. Swartos mentioned there are two ways to handle it. The options are either cancel the event or let the regions make their own decisions.
The Board of Directors nearly passed a motion to give the SDHSAA the opportunity to build a plan for the spring sports season. Sioux Falls Superintendent Brian Maher put a quick stop to that.
Maher stated how the motion could possibly ‘handcuff’ or ‘stick them in a corner’ by putting a motion over the spring activities plan. That was followed by a quick rescind to end the motion.
The next topic was the much anticipated decision regarding what to do with the suspended/postponed remainder of the winter activity season.
Winter Activities Plan
|All-State Band||Move to June 11-13 in Mitchell|
|Visual Arts||Wait as of now|
|State Basketball Tournaments||Remain Postponed; Looking at June 15-20 to play|
The first topic was All-State Band and the entire Board of Directors agreed that postponing it and waiting till June was a good idea. The SDHSAA is looking at June 11-13 in Mitchell.
The next topic was the one that 48 teams, schools and towns have been waiting to hear about.
The idea was pitched to leave these tournaments on hold. The last thing the board wanted to do was cancel any hope of playing for a state title.
Maher and the rest of the board agreed with that idea as Maher shared the thoughts below:
A push to June could lead to some issues with athletes who are preparing for their next season at the collegiate level.
“Any graduating senior can play in these tournaments as long as they are not accepting aid, practicing or anything else at the college level. That would basically make them a college athlete,” John Krogstrand said.
As the SDHSAA committee opened the floor for discussion with the Board of Directors, many people weighed in on the idea. It seemed unanimous that everyone wanted to postpone and hope to play in June.
There were a couple other comments given, but the overall message was that the SDHSAA did not want to end any seasons now.
If the COVID-19 situation becomes a bigger issue, then we could see a tough conversation in April or early May.