With cancellations coming from all over the country due to coronavirus concerns, here is a look at local sports and recreation programs cancellations and postponements.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Virginia High School League announced Friday that the start of the high school spring sports season will be delayed for two weeks, with the new date of the first games being March 30.
Spring sports were previously scheduled to begin games on Monday.
The decision to delay was made by VHSL Executive Director Dr. John. W. "Billy" Haun and the VHSL Crisis Management Committee, and was made due to the "rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19," the release said.
Haun specified in the release that at this point the entire spring sport season has not been cancelled, and postseason championships for all teams will still be played on their originally scheduled dates in May.
“The VHSL continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 and will continue discussions with public health officials and key stakeholders," Haun said in the release.
The VHSL, in a release sent Saturday, stated that while schools are closed the next two weeks, "all school-sponsored activities, including athletics and practices, are not allowed." That is a change from Friday when Haun said allowing teams to practice would be up to individual school districts.
Governor Ralph Northam announced on Friday a statewide closure of all public schools until March 30.
"While some stakeholders in Virginia will be unhappy with the decision to not allow athletic practices, we need to support our Governor and State Superintendent," Haun said in a release. "These actions were taken to protect Virginians, keep them safe and healthy and to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In perspective, we are looking at the overall health of the Commonwealth versus two weeks out of our high school athletic season."
"Everyone clearly understands the dedication and commitment thousands of parents, coaches, and student-athletes have made preparing for this season," the release read. "I am sure college and professional athletes feel the same way as their seasons have been suspended or cancelled. In two weeks, state leaders will evaluate the situation and provide direction for our schools – including the Spring sport season.
"Please be patient and supportive of our leaders as our country and Commonwealth navigate our way through this very difficult situation."
Martinsville City Schools previously announced Thursday that spring sports will be delayed indefinitely. Martinsville High School Athletic Director Tommy Golding said Thursday no games or practices will be held due to coronavirus concerns, and there is no timetable for a return at this time. Golding said the season has not been cancelled completely, but teams will be away from the field indefinitely.
Carlisle school Resource Development and Marketing Director Jennifer Doss said by email on Friday that the private school will abide by Northam's mandate to close for two weeks, however no decision has been made about the school's spring sports as of Friday afternoon. The Chiefs baseball team played a scrimmage at home Friday.
Carlisle Athletic Director Melinda East-Brightwell said via email Friday, "Our administration team will be meeting Monday morning and (spring sports) will be a topic of discussion."
PATRICK HENRY COMMUNITY COLLEGE ATHLETICS
The National Junior College Athletic Association announced on Friday the suspension of all spring sports from Saturday through April 3.
Patrick Henry Community College Athletic Director Brian Henderson said Friday that all Region X athletic contests have been delayed until April 5.
No make-up dates for the Patriots baseball and softball games have been announced at this time.
Henderson previously said Thursday he planned to play home games, but had put a halt on teams travelling out of state or more than 75 miles.
The NJCAA is also extending the hardship season completion ruling to 60%, meaning should teams cancel their season before the limit is reached, student-athletes will not be charged a year of eligibility. For the 2020-21 season, the NJCAA is also increasing its allowable number of Letters of Intent which will be vetted by the Eligibility Committee.
"Our goal is to look after the safety and security of all involved, while also still providing a pathway to allow opportunities for our student-athletes and the ability to compete for a national championship," a release on the NJCAA website read. "The NJCAA will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed."
MARTINSVILLE YMCA AND PARKS AND RECREATION
Martinsville Parks and Recreation basketball scheduled for this weekend has been postponed due to an inability to play games at Martinsville Middle School, Martinsville YMCA CEO and Executive Director Brad Kinkema said Friday.
The basketball games are the only postponement of programs through the Y made at this time, Kinkema said. He said they are working have games made up with just two weeks left in the season.
Right now, the Martinsville YMCA is running as normally, and Kinkema said he and the staff are preparing for different scenarios depending on what happens with the school system and the Virginia Department of Health. The plan is to keep the Y open, with an increase in cleaning and disenfecting, while making hand sanitizer available to members and attendees.
"We sent a notice to all participants and members and parents about the importance of, if you feel that you've been exposed or you're sick that you stay home and we've told employees this too," Kinkema said by phone Friday.
"The Y is an important part, especially for seniors... so many rely on the Y for for the socialization and getting out... We want people to be smart and we don't want people to be isolated and go into depression as well. There's a balance we're trying to achieve."
Kinkema emphasized if you feel sick or feel you've been exposed to the corona virus or other illnesses please don't come to the Y.
Kinkema said as of Friday there is no postponement of spring sports through Martinsville Parks and Recreation, which are set to begin in April.
HENRY COUNTY PARKS AND REC
Spring sports in Henry County Parks and Recreation are scheduled to begin on time Recreation Programmer Daniel Reynolds said Friday.
Friday was the deadline to sign up for spring sports, with practices set to begin in April. Reynolds said if changes are made they'll let people know, but as of now everything is on schedule.
SMITH RIVER SPORTS COMPLEX
Smith River Sports Complex will remain open to the public, Director of Operations and Marketing Houston Stutz said via email Friday.
Stutz said there will probably be a few days in the future when the complex closes to clean playground equipment, benches, tables, etc. as well as spray the turf fields with disinfectant, but those dates had not been decided as of Friday. An announcement will be made by SRSC social media channels when those dates are confirmed.
Stutz said the following cancellations and changes at the complex have also been made:
- Cancellation of out of town tournaments for college ultimate frisbee and football due to travel bans by schools, governing bodies, and tournament directors.
- All scheduled high school school games have also been postponed by the VHSL.
- The Martinsville Mayhem, a local semi-professional football team, had made no decisions on possible postponements as of Friday morning.
- The Piedmont Youth Soccer League will be in discussions with the league it participates in and the Virginia Youth Soccer Association about its decision to possibly delay the rec and travel soccer seasons. Nothing definitive had been decided as of Friday morning.
- The SRSC t-ball league will continue registration as normal and a decision will be made about that closer to the beginning of the season. That season is scheduled to begin in May.
NASCAR announced Friday that the next two race weekends in Atlanta and Homestead-Miami had been cancelled, but no decisions have been made for the Martinsville race weekend scheduled for May 8-9.
Martinsville Speedway has cancelled a previously scheduled test session for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Speedway Director of Communications Tim Southers said Friday there are no other cancellations or delays of other events scheduled at the Speedway at this time.