Following Gov. Brian Kemp’s order Wednesday closing all of the state’s public schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year, the Georgia High School Association formally announced Thursday the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season has been canceled as the state and the entire country continues to grapple with the ongoing, worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

There will be no reduced regular season or postseason over the summer, and athletes will not be granted additional eligibility, GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in a statement on the association’s website. Team practices and workouts are still not allowed at this time.

“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 (weeks) away from their friends and classmates,” Hines said. “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.”

Hines said his office had received “quite a few” requests for the GHSA to allow a fifth year of eligibility, but there are no plans to do so.

“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,” he 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. This is not the situation any of us would like to be in but the eight-semester rule will remain in effect.”

Hines earlier this week said in a monthly newsletter he was concerned about the status of summer and even fall activities and said the GHSA does not have enough information at the moment to make decisions about when activities will be allowed to resume.

Editor’s note: One of the great disappointments that flies under the radar in our current crisis, and with the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year, is the cancellation of the remainder of the spring sports season. Several seniors have seen their high school careers apparently come to an abrupt end without any sort of postseason and real sense of closure. Most of them will never play their sport again at a competitive level. This whole situation has been a lot for anyone to process, much less a high school senior at such a pivotal point in life. If you are a senior high school athlete in Barrow County and would like to share your thoughts, please email editor Scott Thompson at sthompson@barrownewsjournal.com. If you are the parent, grandparent, etc. of a senior student-athlete in the county, please encourage them to do so. Coaches, feel free to contact us as well.

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