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Dallas County Athletic Directors react to spring sports ‘ cancellation

Morgan Academy may not get a chance to defend its AISA state golf and tennis championships this year.

When Gov. Kay Ivey announced the closing of schools statewide for the rest of the year, the spring sports season in the AHSAA was cancelled.

Schools shut down March 18 due to the coronavirus outbreak and a decision was scheduled for April 6, but state officials decided Thursday to stay closed.

Baseball, softball, track, soccer, tennis and golf are  played during the spring in the AHSAA.

AISA Executive Director Michael McClendon said that AISA has not canceled its spring sports. “We have extended our suspension until April 17 at 5 p.m.,” McClendon said.

The Senators’ baseball team was also expected to contend for the AISA State championship this spring.

“I’m heartbroken and sad for all kids across the state,” Morgan Academy head football coach and Athletic Director Josh Thacker said. “Mothers and fathers won’t get to watch their sons or daughters compete on a warm spring day. Mothers and fathers won’t get to celebrate senior night with their children.

“It’s like a shot in the gut. These young men and women have worked hard all summer and fall just to have the rug pulled out front under them. It’s a sad day for coaches, athletes and parents across the state.”

Dallas County Athletic Director and football coach Heath LeVert also expressed sadness for the abrupt ending of spring sports.

“The cancelling of spring sports is upsetting to say the least,” LeVert said. “It is a challenging, but neccessary decision. My heart breaks for the seniors who will not get their last chance to play high school sports.

“With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continuing to trend up, we must do everything we can to get ahead of this developing and ever-growing situation. It still doesn’t make this pill any easier to swallow. I am hoping that the situation will be better and some of the limitations lifted this summer and into the fall. Alabama in the fall will not be the same without Alabama.”

Keith High Athletic Director and boys basketball coach Clifton Reeves said safety and education takes top priority over athletics because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You hate the fact that student athletes won’t get the opportunity to participate in spring sports, but at this point, what we are experiencing is now much larger than sports,” Reeves said. “Our concerns now have to turn to keeping everyone safe and how we can educate our students and graduate our seniors.”

Southside Athletic Director and boys basketball coach Darrell Walker also said focus should be moving forward.

“Safety is always first,” Walker said. “We miss the competition and relationship with players, but health is far more important.”