It’s been more than two months since high school athletics took a backseat to COVID-19.
Seasons cut short, senior nights canceled, memories never made, and champions never crowned, but today the first signs of life from the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
This afternoon, the MHSAA officially announced its June 1st restart, pending the upcoming announcement from Governor Tate Reeves on a date to reopen all Mississippi school facilities.
These return-to-play measures include summer practices, workouts, skill development, weight lifting, conditioning, and rehearsals, all of which will be considered voluntary for student athletes and fine arts participants.
However, this also means no 7-on-7 football, summer ball, or team camps until school resumes in the fall.
Gulfport Athletic Director Bryan Caldwell says what the fall will look like is a big unknown, but still considers Thursday’s decision a big victory. “Well, it is a first step because it allows our coaches to get their hands back on their student-athletes again to start the acclimatization period of them getting back in football shape and to just be a positive influence in their lives. And we’ve been apart since March the 13th so it’s been a while, and I know everybody in every school is chomping at the bit to get back to work. Now as far as what the fall looks like, that’s still a mystery. We still don’t have any idea of what that looks like, but this is a great first step.”
Individual schools have the choice to delay the June 1st restart as a matter of extra precaution.
In a statement from MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton, he says “Once again we appreciate the effort, hard work, and leadership of our 15-member executive committee of school administrators in making difficult decisions during these uncertain times. The support of our MHSAA member schools has been greatly appreciated as well. Our highest priority is and always will be the safety, health, and welfare of Mississippi’s students, educators, and communities.”