The Montana High School Association announced on March 16 that it’s suspending all spring sports and activities through at least April 13 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The MHSA’s Executive Board made the decision during a conference call Monday morning, pressing pause on the spring sports season four days before competitions were permitted to begin. Track and field, softball, tennis and golf teams had been practicing since March 9. The board said it “will reevaluate the situation on April 13.” If competition does resume in 2020, the MHSA will reduce the number of practices that a student-athlete is required to complete before being cleared for competition from 10 to five in softball, track and tennis. The MHSA also sanctions school-sponsored music festivals around the state, and those festivals have likewise been postponed indefinitely.
Local American Legion baseball teams are taking similar steps. The Kalispell Lakers and Glacier Twins have canceled all practices and workouts through the end of March, and the Libby Loggers announced on Facebook that they will “cease baseball activity until further notice.”
The winter sports season in Montana came to a premature end on March 13, when the MHSA canceled the final day of the state basketball tournaments and declared the finalists in each classification co-champions. That announcement came just two hours after state officials confirmed Montana’s first four cases of COVID-19.
The sports world has skidded to a halt in the wake of the spreading coronavirus epidemic. The NCAA and NAIA canceled their national basketball tournaments before they began, and both governing bodies have announced their spring seasons will not be held. Professional sports leagues including the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR and the PGA Tour have also canceled events and/or suspended operations.