Were high school sports canceled too soon?

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Governor Bill Lee's decision to end Tennessee's safer at home order on April 30, paving the way for businesses to reopen, has some wondering if high school sports were canceled too early.

When the TSSAA canceled all sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it ended seasons for players across the state, some of whom were playing their senior years.

Kaylan Cole, a senior at The King's Academy, called the decision "gut-wrenching." Students and coaches across the state feel the same. Maryville boys basketball coach Mark Eldridge says he'll always wonder what could have been.

"It's like spending a weekend reading a book and not being able to read the final chapter - you just don't know how it would have ended," Eldridge said of his team's unwritten ending.

Now that the state is opening back up, those same athletes and coaches are left wondering if anything can be done to salvage their seasons, but the answer from the TSSAA isn't one they hoped to hear.

Matthew Gillespie said as long as schools are closed, and many schools across Tennessee have followed the governor's recommendation on that, high school student athletes won't be hitting the field.

"That's still in effect and that's why we are where we are and why we made the decision that we did at the time," he said.

Gillespie added that he understands the frustration--he's a parent to a student athlete himself. "I see it from a parent's standpoint - I'm one of those parents and my son is one of those student-athletes."

As for the future? That's still up in the air for fall sports, but they are working towards a solution.

"We've gone through this six, seven weeks, however long it's been. What's another two, three, four weeks? It's easier said now not knowing what the future holds, but I'd rather knock it all out now than in August we're having the same conversation we're having in mid-March." said Cole.

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