Sports in Ellis County has been placed on hold for at least the next two weeks and possibly longer, and as the nation hunkers down for what could be a long bout with coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether a number of spring sports will be allowed to finish their seasons at all.
The 2019-2020 season is already over for Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s athletics. The Lions’ men’s basketball team, which won the Sooner Athletic Conference championship, will not advance to the NAIA national tournament after it was canceled on Monday, along with all other NAIA athletics for the rest of the spring. The NAIA said all spring athletes will be granted two additional semesters of eligibility.
Last week, the SAC’s Council of Presidents had already suspended all athletic events effective immediately.
“With the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes as a top priority, SAC Presidents view this as the right and necessary step to take relative to Coronavirus (COVID-19),” the conference said in a statement.
At the high school level, the University Interscholastic League last Friday announced that is calling a two-week ban on all UIL-sanctioned contests.
"To support the health and safety of our students and communities, the University Interscholastic League is suspending all UIL sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Texas," the UIL announced on social media. "Effective March 16, all UIL interscholastic competition is suspended through March 29."
The UIL amended its order on Monday to prohibit all rehearsals, workouts and practices held outside or regular school hours — a moot point since all schools are closed locally.
The UIL suspended the boys’ basketball state tournament abruptly last Thursday.
Additionally, the state powerlifting championships, which are sanctioned separately from the UIL, have been rescheduled for May 2 in Abilene.
Midlothian ISD on Friday became the first Ellis County school district to cancel all classes and activities for the week of March 16-20, and Waxahachie, Red Oak and other districts closely followed suit, extending their spring breaks. District 7-6A had already postponed most of its events for the foreseeable future as Dallas County closed its schools.
Nationally, virtually all NCAA athletic events have been halted, including the NCAA men’s and women’s national basketball tournaments. Additionally, the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer have suspended their seasons, and next month’s Masters golf tournament and Boston Marathon were both postponed. NASCAR, which had contemplated holding races without fans, called off the next two racing weekends.