On Friday afternoon, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League announced in a statement that it would be cancelling the high school spring sports season due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The news comes a day after Governor Gina Raimondo’s announcement that RI school facilities would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and distance learning would continue during that time.
“In our original statement, we said that we would hold a spring season if we returned to school,” said Principals’ Committee on Athletics Chairman and Cranston High School East principal Sean Kelly. “Throughout this process, we have followed the guidelines set forth by Governor Gina Raimondo, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Education and our Superintendents. We are going to continue to do so. We are a school-based athletic program; therefore, if we do not return to school, we cannot return to sports.
“This is obviously devastating for everyone,” Kelly continued. “It is devastating to all the student athletes, especially the seniors who have been waiting for their final high school season. It is devastating to all the schools. It is devastating to all of our communities. It is devastating to everyone. We do not take this decision lightly. It’s awful. There’s no other way to put it.”
“As we all know, we are facing unprecedented circumstances,” said RIIL Executive Director Thomas Mezzanotte. “While we have all established protocols and emergency action plans for many types of situations, we simply have no playbook to follow for this unique global health crisis. Just as we made every effort to complete the winter tournament season, we remained hopeful that at least some form of a spring sports season would be possible and spent the past several weeks exploring many scenarios in the event that it could be saved. We had the best of intentions, but unfortunately were at the mercy of this deadly virus. We are dealing with a catastrophic situation, and the only way we can respond is in a way that supports the health and safety of our student-athletes and everyone involved.”
For more coverage and reaction, check out next week’s Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald and Johnston Sun Rise.