SHS basketball teams await word on state tournaments
Classes and all extra-curricular activities at Sequoyah High School are cancelled or postponed until April 6. Oklahoma has also closed all public schools through April 6 due to the COVID-19 threat. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – It isn’t just the big leagues dealing with upheaval inflicted by the novel coronavirus. Sporting events at all levels have been postponed or cancelled.
Fans of the Sequoyah High School basketball teams are in a holding pattern, awaiting actions by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association on the state tournaments for classes 2A through 6A. The Indians and Lady Indians qualified for their respective 3A tournaments. The boys were supposed to play Roland at Oklahoma City University, and the girls were set to face Comanche at Jim Norick Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
Quarterfinals for all tournaments were slated March 12, but are postponed.
“The staff at OSSAA realize the effort young people and their coaches put forth in their respective activities, both in athletics and fine arts,” said Ron Etheridge, Cherokee Nation Education Services executive director and interim Sequoyah superintendent. “I think they will make every effort to see the seasons through to their conclusion, as it would truly be a major disappointment, including for Sequoyah players, if the season could not be concluded without someone being crowned state champions.”
In a letter to all superintendents, athletic directors and principals, OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said the organization would try to get the tournaments played.
“After careful consideration, the OSSAA remains determined to make every effort to play the State Basketball Championships for Classes 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A,” the letter read. “We will continue to work with the State Department of Education, the State Health Department, and the Governor’s office as we work to reschedule these tournaments.”
However, the OSSAA also organizes other sports and events such as music contests. All spring sporting and art events scheduled before April 6 by the OSSAA are postponed.
“At this time, all Fine Arts activities after April 6 will remain as scheduled,” the letter stated. “The Fine Arts activities scheduled during the week of March 30 have been postponed. We will continue to work with the State Department of Education, the State Health Department, and the Governor’s office as we work to reschedule these Fine Arts activities.”
Regarding spring athletics, Jackson’s letter stated: “After careful consideration, the OSSAA remains determined to make every effort to play all spring activities as scheduled. Should it become necessary, the OSSAA will make adjustments to the current schedules and communicate those changes to the membership.”
It was initially suggested that individual school districts assess their respective situations before hosting games, but on March 16 the Oklahoma State Department of Education ordered all schools closed through April 6. Public colleges and universities in Oklahoma are included in the cancellations, with many classes moving online.
Northeastern State University announced during its spring break that its campuses would remain closed a further two weeks.
SHS is also closed through April 6, and the CN and OSDE have warned that the closures might be extended if conditions warrant. The CN has cancelled spring ACT prep courses.
“Based on the action of the State Department of Education, the OSSAA is requiring that during this time all school personnel, including certified, adjunct or volunteer coaches are prohibited from engaging in any type of activity involving secondary students; no practice, instruction, training, weight lifting, tryouts, competition or travel is permitted,” the letter said. “School facilities will be closed until April 6, 2020, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated.”
On March 19, the OSDE announced that it would pursue a federal waiver to suspend statewide assessments for the 2019-20 academic year, and also request the suspension of Oklahoma School Report Card for this academic year.