MSHSAA: Schools may choose alternate seasons

Columbia Daily Tribune
The Rolla Daily News

The Missouri State High School Activities Association approved rearranging seasons this coming school year for schools that cannot compete this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday’s decision comes as the Aug. 28 scheduled start date for fall sports is just over two weeks away.

“The traditional seasons are still being offered at this time for those schools able to participate,” wrote Kerwin Urhahn, MSHSAA executive director, in a statement Thursday morning. “Today’s action by the board of directors puts into place a plan of action our staff devised in the event a school is not able to participate partially or in whole.

“This could give those students an opportunity to complete a season in their sport.”

Under the new plan, schools with teams that are unable to compete in the fall may push their seasons back to the spring, with the option for spring sports to then be pushed to next summer.

MSHSAA will allow schools and conferences to decide whether to use the alternative seasons or remain within the traditional seasons.

High schools in the state of Missouri began practices Monday to gear up for traditional fall seasons. Middle schools are scheduled to start practice on August 17. 

Schools electing to participate in the alternate fall season for any sport will, by default, be placed in the alternate spring season for all spring sports, MSHSAA wrote in an email to member schools Thursday.

Schools may still request to participate in the traditional spring season for any spring sport if they opted into the alternate fall season.

Schools have been instructed to notify MSHSAA by Sept. 11 if they intend to participate in the alternate fall season. Schools that start the traditional fall season but are forced to shut down activities after that deadline may request the alternate fall season on a case-by-case basis.

The alternate fall season would begin competitions March 12 and conclude May 1. The alternate spring season would begin May 14 and end July 10.

The decision does not affect the traditional winter sports seasons. Practices for winter sports are still scheduled to begin Nov. 1, with the season concluding March 20.

Schools may be granted late entry into winter sports seasons if needed.

All championship venues and locations for the traditional seasons are subject to change, MSHSAA wrote in the email to members.

Last week, MSHSAA changed its rules for 2020-21 to allow schools that are online-only due to the pandemic to still participate in athletics. At least 20 St. Louis area districts are beginning the year entirely virtually.