S. Burlington Thursday, April 30th
MONTPELIER, Vt. - The decision may untimately have been inevitable, but that doesn't make it sting any less now that it has been made, the Vermont high school spring sports season has been canceled.
"We've never seen anything like this where, all of a sudden, you've had to cancel an entire season. There's no history, no precedent here at all.", said Vermont Principals' Association Associate Executive Director Bob Johnson.
The VPA announced earlier in the month that April 30th would be the cutoff date for the final decision on the spring season. Johnson acknowledges that the decision to cancel could have been made earlier, but the VPA felt delaying the decision as long as possible would at least give some hope to the state's thousands of spring sports student athletes.
"For these high school students,", said Johnson, "sports is very, very important. For them and for their lives."
For CVU athletic director Dan Shepardson, it was the right decision to make.
"If we could engage even one student athlete to stay engaged in the academic side of it because of the hope that there would be a spring season, we thought it was a good thing.", said Shepardson. "To hold out hope, and have a positive outlook, and something to look forward to given what's going on in our world right now, it seemed like a winner us to hold out as long as we possibly could."
The cancellation of the spring season joins a long list of sports and sporting events impacted by the pandemic. Could the high school fall season be next?
Practice for the high school fall season is set to begin in mid-August, but health experts are saying social distancing guidelines could still be in place at that time. It means a 'normal' fall sports season is still far from guaranteed at this point.
"With social distancing you can't play sports.', said Shepardson. "I think it's very possible that the fall seasons could be in jeopardy depending on how this unfolds."
"Everything is on the table at this point right now, and depending on the guidance that we get over the next 4 to 6 weeks it is going to have a huge impact on what we can or cannot do in the fall.", said Johnson. "Right now we still plan on starting on August 10th for football and August 13th for all other sports. Now that can obviously change. What will happen between now and the next six weeks or next two months, I don't have a clue."