CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – On Thursday, we were able to once again speak with the Executive Director of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activity Commission, Bernie Dolan.
Thursday marks three weeks since the state basketball tournaments were suspended or postponed due to the COVDI-19 outbreak.
Since then, spring sports in the Mountain State have also been shut down for the time being.
Earlier this week, Governor Jim Justice ordered that schools in West Virginia remained closed through April 30.
When asked if school closures being extended to the end of the month changes anything for the WVSSAC, Dolan said, “It makes things extremely tight. … We’re out until the first of May, so we’ll wait and see until that point. But it certainly does make our schedule a lot tighter if we’re going to try and do it.”
Dolan has remained optimistic to this point about the chance of basketball and spring sports, like baseball and track & field, starting back up. But as the calendar has turned to April that optimism is being tested.
“As we move forward in the schedule, the more accurate it will become. So we’ll just have to wait and see,” Dolan said.
He added that one of the things that has allowed the WVSSAC to hold out to this point, and moving forward, with the hopes of starting or restarting seasons, is that they want to give seniors in their final seasons a chance to get to play those last games.
“The hardest thing has been maybe coming to grips with we’re not going to have a basketball tournament, we’re not going to have spring sports. And kids have played their hearts out for so many years.” “Just the heartfelt sadness that we can’t do it for those kids. The coaches always have other years. The kids, you’re a senior, this is it. That’s why we’ve held on as long as we could.”Bernie Dolan, WVSSAC Executive Director
When asked what happens if/when high school sports do resume, Dolan reiterated what he has said previously, that teams would have to adhere to the WVSSAC’s rule that teams must have 14 practices before playing a game.
That means that if school starts on May 1, no games would be played until the middle of the month, given that teams would’ve been off for 6-7 weeks at that point.
One thing that has been looked at across the country when it comes to COVID-19’s impact on the sports world is the financial implications.
We asked Dolan about the financial impacts at the high school level. And, though, he couldn’t answer for schools individually, he did say that the boys and girls state basketball tournaments in Charleston make up “at least 40 percent of our budget for the year.”
Dolan did say that playing games in front of no fans is still an option if sports were to resume.
Stay with 12 News and 12 Sports as we continue to provide coverage on the impact of COVID-19 in West Virginia.