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GHSA cancels spring sports, rules out extra eligibility and moving seasons

The GHSA will also be applying for a loan to deal with the current crisis.

ATLANTA — Not that anyone needed an official word that high school sports were over for the year, but here it is.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced after its electronic Board of Trustees meeting, Thursday, that spring sports and activities were canceled for the remainder of the school year. The announcement came one day after Governor Brian Kemp announced that schools in Georgia would remain closed for the rest of the current school year.

"Given the announcement yesterday by Governor Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year. I especially want to commend the graduating seniors who have not only missed most of the spring season but prom, senior nights, awards ceremonies, possibly graduation, and spent the last few months away from their friends and classmates. Our seniors have a great deal to be proud of and while this is not the way any of us wanted it to end, I want to thank them for a job well done," GHSA executive director Dr. Robin Hines said in a statement.

Hines raised the possibility of moving spring sports to the summer, but the members unanimously disliked the idea, which includes athletic directors.

Hines also stated that there was no intention of giving high schoolers extra eligibility like the NCAA is doing with spring athletes since their seasons were cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak. High school athletes have eligibility to participate in GHSA events for eight semesters.

"As sad and disappointing as this spring has been, there is a backward trickle effect and there are many unintended consequences associated with waiving this by-law," Hines said. "GHSA activities and sports are education-based and exist as an extension of the classroom. The culmination of all activities of a student is to lead to graduation and this will have taken place for our seniors."

According to Hines, no other state sports association has approved adding eligibility for high school athletes affected by abbreviated seasons.

Hines said the GHSA would be applying for a loan under The CARES Act, a $2 trillion federal law passed for COVID-19 relief efforts that also allows funds to be directed to businesses. 

“This loan, which is forgivable like a grant, would allow us to cover payroll, utilities and other expenses for the office for the next two months,” said Hines. “This is what the stimulus package is for and it is really good news for us.” 

The GHSA has not decided anything regarding the summer but is concerned about how this could affect fall sports. Hines did approve of the idea of delaying tryouts for cheerleading and volleyball as late as June if it was before the start of fall sports.

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