FHSAA keeps door open for spring sports to return


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Viera softball pitcher Karyana Mitchell might have a chance to finish out her senior year after all. The FHSAA announced Tuesday it is considering extending the spring sports season into June.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Spring sports have not been cancelled.

At least not yet.

While Brevard County Schools are closed through May 4, under orders from Florida Department of Education along with guidance from the Florida Department of Health and the CDC due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has not announced a cancellation of the 2020 postseason.

The FHSAA posted an update on its website on Tuesday that left open the possibility that spring sports could be extended into June provided schools are reopened after May 3 and “afforded the opportunity to resume activities” by federal, state and local authorities.

“In light of the current situation, the FHSAA staff is actively working on creative solutions for the continuance of spring sports, which could extend through June 30,” the FHSAA said in its news release.

“The FHSAA does understand the hardships caused by COVID-19 and the inability to play spring sports. If we are not able to continue spring sports, the FHSAA is working diligently to create a plan regarding additional eligibility for students who have not been able to participate in spring sports.”

The possibility that there could still be a spring sports season elicited a positive response from local athletic directors.

“My first reaction is obviously, ‘Wow, that’s awesome,’” Viera High athletic director Maggie Davis said. “I truly was waiting for the day for the FHSAA to cut the cord. I’m so happy to hear they’re still trying to push through and still give these athletes an opportunity to represent their school.

“I think the idea of shooting for June 30 is amazing. We’re here for the kids at the end of the day. I would have no problem having that into summer if that means that these kids got an opportunity.”

With a number of Viera teams doing quite well at the beginning of the spring season, the stoppage of play – while necessary and completely understandable – was disappointing nonetheless.

That would be the case especially for the number of seniors (Viera’s baseball team has 11) who were looking to close out their final year of high school in a big way.

Viera’s baseball, softball and lacrosse programs had a combined record of 28-7 and three of the four teams were ranked in the top 80 in the state early in the season.

“We have so many teams I would consider to be state contenders,” Davis said. “Our boys lacrosse team was definitely high in the ranks. Our tennis program was doing great. Obviously, as always, our baseball and softball teams were pretty high up there in the ranks. We’ve got a new girls lacrosse coach.

“Just across the board, our spring sports were definitely succeeding. It’s unfortunate the momentum they were all gaining disappeared. I feel really bad for our track program because we have so many student-athletes (taking part), and a lot of those kids were getting their best times and their PRs.”

Davis said she didn’t see any logistical problems to extending the season in terms of finding officials or making sure facilities were available.

Holy Trinity athletic director James Phillips said the Tigers’ athletic programs were also enjoying a successful spring season when their seasons were suspended because of the pandemic.

“Our teams are understandably disappointed with how things have turned out,” Phillips wrote in an email. “Just before break, many of our teams were excelling in their season and were optimistic with how the remainder of the season would turn out for them.

“Right now, our coaches have sent out personal workouts that our athletes can do at home to keep fit should springs sports continue when this pandemic is over. It's all very much a wait and see and do the best we can to keep morale positive.”

Like Davis, Phillips said he would welcome an extension to the spring sports season.

“I think it would be beneficial to extend the spring sports into June, especially for seniors who want to and deserve to complete their sports season,” Phillips wrote. “Of course, there will be positives and negatives with any decision made. This is not the type of thing that we are truly prepared for happening however, I have complete faith that FHSAA will do what they deem best for the student-athletes and we will just have to accept what that decision is.”