Effective immediately, the Mississippi High School Activities Association has suspended all competition and practices for high school athletics through March 29 amid the outbreak of COVID-19 in Mississippi.
Their decision applies regardless of whether or not a school is open or closed during this time frame, and goes for both interscholastic sports and fine-arts competitions. The MHSAA Executive Committee, made up of 15 administrators from across the state, and member institutions held a conference call at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, during which they came to the decision.
“We urge our member schools and their communities to take every possible precaution to remain safe and healthy,” MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said. “MHSAA leadership is working diligently to adjust to this rapidly evolving situation and will share updates as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this unfortunate situation together.”
The organization will use this down time to try and formulate contingency plans for continuing regular-season competition at the appropriate time. Wording of the MHSAA statement suggests, like has happened in other leagues such as the Southeastern Conference, that they very well may have to push back from that March 29 date and can do so at any point in the future.
“I was hoping this was the decision they would make. I talked to a couple other athletic directors yesterday, a few that are on the executive board, and this is what I was hoping for,” said Lafayette athletic director Greg Lewis. “It makes me happy that they haven’t killed it all the way yet. The main thing is that we just have to get back in school. That’s the big thing. Athletics wise, none of this will happen unless we get back into school.”
Lewis elaborated on a few potential return-to-play scenarios, ones that offered different options to shorten regional and regular season play in order to still let athletes get to their postseasons in a reasonable timeframe. Oxford AD Mike Martin was unavailable for comment at this time, but ensured he will share his thoughts on the decision shortly, when available to speak.