Fate of spring sports in a holding pattern

April, May … June plans remain a mystery

May 18, 2019: Creighton Trembly, center, ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Sports like track and field may have a better chance at holding championships, should a spring season even happen in 2020. CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green told recently that the CHSAA will continue to make decisions based on state government and health department guidelines and restrictions.

Discussions about what a spring season could look like in the fleeting hope that high schoolers are allowed to return to athletics are informal at best, the Colorado High School Activities Association said this week.

While many eager coaches, athletes and parents have expressed their own opinions about what a spring season could look like if the season returns following CHSAA’s current moratorium through April 18, there likely won’t be any plan put into motion for the foreseeable future due to the state and health department’s existing restrictions.

The state’s intensifying measures to slow down the advance of the coronavirus added another drastic chapter Thursday as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered the majority of residents to stay at home. It expires April 11.

“Whether you’re a hotel, whether you’re a bar, whether you’re a restaurant, you’ve been given some directives on how you are to operate right now in this new normal we’re all living in,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said. “We’re all waiting.”

And while each new response to the virus is more indicative of a season in peril than one just on hold, Blanford-Green acknowledged that there still have been preliminary conversations inside her staff about what a spring season could look like. Nothing, she reiterated, is on an official basis.

“We’re not keeping it to ourselves,” she laughed. “We’re not having secret meetings.”

Instead, Blanford-Green said any real plan would only come after the state and health governing boards lift the restrictions on operations like CHSAA to move forward. She noted that resuming athletics would only come in the event that students are back in the classroom, which Polis has said is increasingly unlikely over the past two weeks.

“Our staff has shared or discussed multiple scenarios,” Blanford-Green said. “We’ve discussed what our drop-dead date that we could potentially move forward with the spring season. We have talked about what it looks like for diverse sports. We have talked about safety and implementation. But all of these are just preliminary discussion in the event that mandates and restrictions are lifted by the state and health department.”

For Chase McBride, the executive director of athletics in the St. Vrain Valley School District, and other ADs across the state, it’s wait and see for now.

“We’re hanging tight and waiting for guidance,” said McBride, who noted that the administration’s attention has turned to online learning while athletic directors work on building schedules for future seasons. “You leave yourself up for disappointment when you start playing the what-if game. We’re trying to stay as patient as we can and follow the guidelines to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

Added Blanford-Green: “We all have to put this into perspective. It is nobody’s fault. There isn’t any one person that needs to be blamed in the decision making that is happening. Everybody (government and state officials) is making decisions that are saving lives or potentially slowing the spread of COVID-19 as we learn more and more every week, and that has to be in the forefront of all decisions.”