‘This is unprecedented’; High school athletics temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 concerns

UHSAA logo | Photo courtesy of the UHSAA, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On Thursday afternoon, the Utah High School Activities Association announced on Twitter that they are going to suspend all athletic activities statewide starting Monday due to COVID-19 concerns.

The suspension will last for at least two weeks, and schools have the option to suspend athletic events immediately if they choose to.

“In consultation with board directives and information provided by state public health officials, the UHSAA has suspended spring activities to properly fulfill best practices regarding protection of students and the general public,” a UHSAA release said. “More information will be sent to member schools and/or districts as it becomes available.”

Canyon View’s Athletic Director Kyle Robinson said he’s not sure what to plan for.

“This is unprecedented, and nobody can know if it will only be two weeks or if it will be longer. That makes it really hard to plan,” he said. “However, I am glad that the state is taking precautions to keep our students, coaches and spectators safe.”

The biggest reason behind the suspension was the safety of the athletes and students. Desert Hills boys tennis coach David Smith said he assumed this was coming, but he had not heard prior to speaking with St. George News.

Smith said he figured if they are canceling professional tournaments, high school sports would be next, and they’d rather be safe than sorry.

Gibson Crawford and Jared Sudweeks of Pine View compete in the state 4A tennis tournament at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 10, 2019 | File photo by Megan Cafarelli, St. George News

He said it was definitely a “shocker.”

“It’s too early to make a concrete evaluation of how this is going to transpire,” Smith said. “With spring break next week, we have a window of time that will either reflect more concern or less concern, and I think that we’ll have a very shortened season. I’d hate to think that we would lose the opportunity to play our region matches and certainly state.”

Another big question that arose was whether teams will still be able to practice.

Desert Hills boys soccer coach Benji Nelson confirmed in a text that his team will still be practicing, and they plan on playing their game Friday night before the suspension of events starts on Monday.

Dixie High boys soccer coach Burt Myers said a lack of practice could be an issue for the team.

“It could turn the season around quite a bit,” Myers said. “When you stop practicing and you come back to try and pick up where you were, you start all over again.”

Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, Region 9 boys soccer season opener, St. George, Utah, March 3, 2020 | File photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Myers agreed that the health and safety of everyone involved is the top priority.

For Cedar baseball head coach Eric Fieldstead, as long as school is in session they are allowed to continue practicing.

“I trust our public officials and doctors and their recommendations,” Fieldstead said after the Reds took down Enterprise 9-4. “We all have people close to us that are in the category listed as at-risk, so we’ll hope that things stay under control and life gets back to normal and these kids, especially the seniors, can get back on the field.”

Girls golf, another spring sport, might be in a tough situation. Pine View girls golf coach Matt Wieland was heartbroken for his players. He also said it will be hard to reschedule missed tournaments as courses will not be able to accommodate on such short notice due to public tee times.

With two region tournaments already being played, there are only six regional tournaments left in the season. Two of those tournaments will fall during the UHSAA suspension of sanctioned events.

This is an ongoing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

COVID-19 information resources

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


Download Our App