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MHSA suspends spring sports well into April

NAIA joins NCAA in canceling all spring sports

 

March 17, 2020

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field stands empty Monday afternoon, and not just because of the heavy snow the area received over the weekend. Monday was to mark week two of the spring sports season, but due to continuing escalation of the COVID-19 crisis, the Montana High School Association suspended all spring sports through April 13.

With schools already shut down across Montana for the next two weeks, the Montana High School Association announced Monday, an added length of time that high school spring sports will be shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The MHSA and Executive Director Mark Beckman said in a press release Monday that, spring sports will be suspended in Montana until at least April 13.

The full press release reads as follows:

The MHSA Executive Board, during a conference call to conduct Association business on Monday morning, took the following action regarding MHSA Spring Activities:

All MHSA spring activities will be indefinitely suspended until further notice. This includes practices and contests/meet/festivals. The Executive Board will reevaluate this situation on April 13th and any additional information regarding spring activities will be provided as it becomes available.

If spring activities are resumed, the practice requirement for sports at that time will be five practices from resumption except for golf which will be the normal two practices required.

Postseason formats will be adjusted by conferences as necessary with MHSA approval.

For Havre High, and schools across the state, spring sports began last Monday, and a full week of practices were completed. The Blue Pony tennis teams were the first program set to compete at this weekend's Cut Bank Invitational, while Blue Pony softball and track and field were set to begin their first competitions next weekend.

Now of course, everything is on hold, and though the two-week period for which all Montana schools will be closed, doesn't even affect April, if spring sports were indeed allowed to return on April 13, which is nowhere near a sure thing, programs would have already lost about 40 percent of their competitions.

Also affected by the spring sports suspension is the Class B and C golf seasons. On the Hi-Line, Chinook, Box Elder, Harlem, Rocky Boy and Fort Benton offer golf. Though snow is on the ground around much of Montana those seasons were also set to begin in a couple of weeks.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

At the collegiate level, the NAIA Monday, joined the NCAA in canceling all spring sports. That means Montana State University-Northern will not be able to conclude its 2019-2020 golf season, which normally wraps up at the Frontier Conference Championships in April.

No announcements have been made as of press time on the upcoming college rodeo season. The CNFR and the Big Sky Region are now governed by the NCAA or NAIA. MSU-Northern's rodeo schedule has the first Big Sky Region Rodeo of the spring as the Montana State University Rodeo April 2-5 in Bozeman.

Monday, the Montana football team announced its was canceling the remainder of spring practices, all other team activities and its April 10 spring game in Hamilton. Montana State has not made an official announcement yet on its spring football, while MSU-Northern football has also not announced any updates on spring ball, which is slated to begin March 30.

 

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