TSSAA delays decision on basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.) -- The TSSAA Board of Control voted unanimously on Tuesday to delay a decision on how to move forward with the girls and boys state basketball tournaments after they were suspended due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Executive Director Bernard Childress expressed his desire to play the tournaments in some form or fashion. The move to delay a decision was based on that desire and approved unanimously by the board.

During the call-in meeting, Childress explained that the board has talked to MTSU about possible future dates to hold the tournaments.

"Our student-athletes need to know we're trying," Childress said during the meeting.

As of now, the university is planning on using the Murphy Center to hold multiple graduations in the middle of May. Any tournaments would likely be held after commencement ceremonies wrap up on campus.

Childress added that he believes both tournaments could be held within a week's time.

Board member and Fulton High School Athletic Director Jody Wright echoed Childress' desire to do anything possible to hold the boys and girls state championships.

"Everybody wants to fit this in if possible. I’d love as an organization if we could leave no stone unturned to try to play these tournaments," said Wright.

The status of spring sports championships remains up in the air as well. The board has looked into extending the regular season and Spring Fling by two weeks. Childress noted he and staff have had conversations with officials in Rutherford County, where Spring Fling is held, and that those local authorities raised concerns about pushing events back as there is typically a strain on hotel availability in June and July.

Childress added that the county wants the TSSAA to try to look into playing spring tournaments during the last week of May.

The board acknowledged that some schools have completely shut down all spring sports practices and regular season games up to this point. It is current TSSAA policy that a school can't be penalized in district competition and playoffs for not playing regular season games.

The board voted unanimously to keep that policy in place and will not mandate spring competition. The board left the option open to schools and school districts to use their own discretion when scheduling and playing any spring sports games and/or practices.

Coronavirus prevention

Guidance released by the CDC advises practicing preventative measures to help stop an outbreak in your community by:

- Avoiding contact with people who are sick
- If you are sick, stay home
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
- Clean frequently touched surfaces daily
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

KCHD launched a COVID-19 Public Information Line. The hotline number is 865-215-5555 or individuals may call toll-free at 888-288-6022. The information line will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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