For the first time in more than 100 years, the Florida High School Athletic Association will not hold season-ending tournaments or meets to crown a state champion in any spring sport.
The state’s governing body for high school sports announced Monday that spring sports (baseball, boys volleyball, boys weightlifting, flag football, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track and field and water polo) were officially cancelled in a press release initially released to board members.
The decision comes two days after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that schools statewide should remain closed through the spring semester. Schools are still conducting classes through a virtual setting.
“With the evolving threat of the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19), we must ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of this illness,” the release said. “We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly. Our Association knows the impact and role high school athletics play in the lives of so many and will continue to work towards the betterment of high school sports. We know this is a trying time, but the health and safety of all is of utmost importance to this association.”
The FHSAA also said in the release that no additional eligibility would be granted for spring athletes, following Florida Department of Education guidelines and a review of Florida statutes and FHSAA bylaws.
Last month, the FHSAA postponed all games, meets and tournaments through May 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The organization, however, did not cancel spring sports at that time.
In a March 31 press release, the FHSAA said its staff was “actively working on creative solutions for the continuance of spring sports through June 30,” provided schools return to a classroom setting and sports are given the green-light by the Florida Department of Education to resume.
Athletic directors from around the stare were holding weekly meetings with FHSAA officials to discuss the potential obstacles of extending the season into the summer such as expired physicals, lack of officials and the availability of stadiums for state tournaments and meets.
None of that mattered after the governor made his decision this past weekend.
Area teams were already anticipating the move with many sharing posts on social media that paid homage to their players this past weekend. Coaches started collecting uniforms from their players Monday morning before the announcement was even made.