High school officials feeling impact of coronavirus sports stoppages

March 20, 2020 /
With many areas of the country on a virtual lockdown due to the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, high school sports athletic associations have been forced to cancel or indefinitely suspend winter and spring sports.

High school officials feeling effects of coronavirus sports cancellations
A local MHSAA official officiates a high school basketball game. (Photo: sherri1698 / Twenty20)

And while parents, coaches and student-athletes are all affected by these suspensions and cancellations, none may be hit harder than high school officials who rely on the events for work.

In a recent feature on MLive, a handful of the Michigan State Athletic Association (MHSAA)’s local officials spoke about how the suspensions and spread of the pandemic was affecting them.

Rob King, an official of more than 20 years, was scheduled to join fellow official Brian Weaver, a referee of 28 years, at the MHSAA state semifinals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center in March. Following the indefinite postponement of the tournament, King said it was disappointing to be missing out on the events — but that he felt most for the student-athletes whose high school careers are hanging in the balance.

» Also See: Bridging the divide: developing positive relationships with officials

“You go through a kind of lull in January and February, and then as February goes on, you start to anticipate those assignments, and it gets your batteries recharged,” King told MLive. “It’s been a big disappointment and a weird way to end the season. I feel bad for the kids, especially the seniors… and from the officiating side, you don’t know how many more of those opportunities you’ll get.”

It’s important to note that as of Friday, March 20, the MHSAA has only postponed — not canceled — state tournaments for boys and girls basketball,  boys hockey, boys swimming and girls gymnastics.

“There is always hope,” MHSAA spokesperson John Johnson said. “With so many things surrounding these circumstances that are not within our control, we will take our lead from the state government, and our other partners, if and when school resumes. It is our hope that every championship can be contested. Whether that happens in April, May or June, every option remains on the table.”

To read more about the MHSAA officials’ stories and to get updates on the status of the postponed seasons and tournaments, you can read the full story on MLive by clicking here.