By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Last week the sports world was rocked by the positive test for COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, with NBA All-Star center Rudy Gobert.
That result produced a mass ripple effect from professional sports to the collegiate ranks and now on the preps level. Last Friday, Munford Baseball Head Coach Scotty Yount was leaving the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Baseball Field a 20-4 victor.
Also the veteran Skipper was walking into a world of uncertainty.
“First and foremost everybody’s health is the No. 1 concern,” he said. “We’re not going to worry about things that are not in our control. If we get put on a dead period, there’s nothing we haven’t been through that we can’t handle. We’ll just do what we’ve got to do and be ready when they say play ball.”
Several municipal school systems in Shelby County, area private schools and the Tipton County Schools system announced there will be no school this week and the following week in March.
“At this time, we are closing schools through Friday, March 27,” the Millington Municipal Schools release stated. “ This will provide opportunities for social distancing, thorough disinfection of schools and buses, and contingency planning in case prolonged closures are required at some point in the future. We ask that families do not simply view this as an extended Spring Break or additional vacation time.
“Families should heed the warnings of health experts and limit your social interactions during this time to prevent the spread of the virus,” it continued. “Thank you for your support as we navigate this challenging situation. We will continue to seek the advice of health professionals as developments occur and make updates as necessary.”
That release read similarly to other municipalities. All the schools are trying to stay ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the NBA, NHL and MLS suspended play of their ongoing seasons, the NCAA announced Thursday the cancellation of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
All the NCAA suspended all spring sports. Concerns turned to all the local athletes underway like baseball, softball, track, tennis and boy’s soccer.
“After serious and considerable deliberation and input from many stakeholders, the six municipal Shelby County superintendents in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington have made the collective decision to cancel classes, extracurricular activities, and sporting events through the week following Spring Break.”
Shelby County Schools were the first to close schools and extracurricular activities last week. Meanwhile up in Murfreesboro the 2020 Girls State Basketball tournaments were underway.
“Following the conclusion of the girls’ state basketball tournament quarterfinal round today, we are suspending the remainder of the girls’ state tournament and next week’s boys’ state tournament,” the TSSAA released last Thursday. “Whether we will be able to reschedule these events will depend on the length of the suspension and the availability of facilities. We intended to conduct the tournaments with restricted attendance as we announced earlier. However, today has seen the suspension or cancellation of championship events by the NCAA and multiple collegiate conferences including the SEC tournament that was being played nearby.
“The suspension of regular season play in the NBA and the NHL,” the statement continued, “the closure of university campuses and of several Tennessee public school systems; and the suspension or cancellation of high school championships in multiple other states.”
Administrators from the TSSAA to the local schools are taking the COVID-19 threat seriously and will make decisions on the on-the-field play in the near future.
“With the actions being taken all around us, including the action of our host university MTSU in sending all students away from campus, we believe it would be irresponsible and contrary to the public interest for us to continue our tournaments at this time and risk contributing to the spread of the virus,” the TSSAA concluded. “We will provide further updates as this pandemic evolves, including updates on whether we will be able to reschedule these tournaments.”