Without question, we are living in unprecedented times.
In my 35+ years in education, I have never experienced anything like COVID 19 and the impact it is having on the world. The GHSA is part of that world and, from my perspective, it plays no small role in the lives of our young people, their parents and fans.
There has been no shortage of advice on how to handle the pandemic, from whether to play and practice or how to set up the playoffs if circumstances allow us to return to play. I have heard mostly from parents of senior athletes who are losing their senior seasons day by day. I hear from the athletes themselves and they talk about how important our activities are and they feel they are being robbed of something they have worked so hard for.
I get it, I understand the parent’s point of view and my heart breaks a little more every day this continues. The GHSA wants to resume our seasons as soon as possible. But the safety of our student athletes, and those with whom they have contact as well as those who support them, has to be our top priority.
If we are able to resume play, I don’t know what it will look like. We will be prepared for any scenario and, if my prayers are answered, we will play a reduced regular season and playoffs. We will do everything we can to get our teams back on the field but we must be back in school. When those decisions are made, rest assured they will be made with the most current information available with safety as our top priority.
Questions to be answered are what is the date we could return and still play for championships? When and how will physicals take place for next year? What happens if some schools are back and others remain closed? What if local municipalities mandate closures longer than Governor Kemp’s Executive Order? There are many other questions to be answered, but believe me, there is not enough information at this time to answer any of them. We will do our best when the time comes.
Finally, I have avoided opinions throughout this writing and have done my best to communicate the most accurate information available. While I hope and pray we have the opportunity to “restart,” I don’t want to give false hope. I spoke to Steve Saverese, Alabama’s Executive Director, recently and he informed me that their schools are closed for the remainder of the year and he had cancelled Spring sports.
I am concerned that too much time will have passed before COVID 19 begins decrease to have a season. I worry that we will not be in school again this school year. I worry about the safety of activities in the summer and I worry about its effect on Fall sports and activities.
I am worried about a lot of things, but one thing I’m not worried about is the strength of the Georgia High School Association. Regardless of the time our sports and activities resume, we will be prepared to provide the best sports, activities and experiences for our 400,000+ student-athletes.
Thank you for your support during this very difficult time and as always, please let me know if we can do anything for you.
– Dr. James R. Hines, Jr., GHSA Executive Director