Coronavirus update

Month delay: Maine Principals' Association pushes back start of spring sports seasons

COVID-19 continues to have profound affect on national, state, Midcoast sports
By Staff | Mar 13, 2020

Augusta — The surreal nature of the spread of COVID-19, or the more commonly referred to coronavirus, has forced many of the governing bodies of professional and collegiate sports to suspend activities until further notice.

Now, on a statewide scale, the Maine Principals’ Association has continued with that trend of proactive reasoning as the governing body of high school sports in the Pine Tree State announced Friday it is delaying the start of the spring sports seasons.

Thus, the start of the spring sports seasons for baseball, softball, track and field, lacrosse and tennis now will be Monday, April 27.

In baseball and softball, the first day for pitchers and catchers were slated for Monday, March 23, with Monday, March 30 being the first day of tryouts/practices for all spring sports. Now that has been pushed back a month.

“As you all know, implications from the coronavirus have hit Maine,” said the MPA in a released statement. “This being said, we have been in contact with the Maine CDC (Centers for Disease Control), DOE (Department of Education), governor’s office and other health agencies in regards to the best way to provide services that people need while keeping them safe.”

The statement went on to say that “we will continue to monitor the situation and will make the appropriate changes as needed to ensure the safety of all students.”

Camden Hills athletic director Jeff Hart called it "an unprecedented situation."

"I certainly hope that we will be able to play a portion of the season," he said. "I have been in touch with many ADs today and we are going to go forward with trying to adapt schedules with a new starting date. We will then have to wait and see what happens in a couple of weeks. But I know I speak for everyone I have corresponded with when I say that we are truly hoping that this delay will buy us enough time to still have a shortened season."

Medomak Valley athletic director Matt Lash said with many schools statewide making the decision to cancel classes for the foreseeable future, "the focus needs to be on the essentials."

"How will each school roll out providing learning opportunities, feed children who rely on those meals at school, make sure seniors get the support they need to graduate and how will this affect daycare for families and staff? We all want spring sports to happen, but it has to take a back seat at the moment," said Lash. "We have some school districts that are out for two weeks and others out until April 27. It is hard to plan schedules when we we don't know who will be in school and when. Our hope is that we will be able to have a shortened spring season that begins after April vacation, especially for our senior athletes."

Professional sports leagues across the country, including the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Professional Golf Association (PGA) and Major League Soccer (MLS) have suspended their seasons or delayed the start of their seasons.

Friday morning, NASCAR announced it is postponing its next two race weekends, while the Boston Marathon — the most historic and high-profile footrace in the world — has postponed the 124th running of its event from April 20 to Sept. 14.

As of Tuesday morning, March 17, there were 23 confirmed cases and nine presumptive positive cases of coronavirus reported in Maine.

Also as of Tuesday, according to cdc.gov, there were 3,487 reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States with 68 deaths.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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