By JESSE SMITHEY
The TSSAA office added a hefty measure of Covid-19 precautions to its winter sports Monday in the wake of an executive order announced and signed by Governor Bill Lee on Sunday evening.
Sporting events like TSSAA basketball games, wrestling matches, bowling tournaments and the like will now carry restricted attendance. Per the TSSAA guidelines outlined Monday night, only player’s parents/guardians and immediate household members, first responders, coaching and team personnel, school/game/facility administrators, athletics officials and media should be admitted entrance.
“Because of the significant increase in the incidence of Covid-19 infections in Tennessee, additional restrictions on who may attend interscholastic athletic practices and contests will be in place,” the TSSAA stated. “Unfortunately, large scale attendance by spectators and students must be curtailed.
“Doing so means that bands, pep bands, cheerleaders, and dance teams may not attend athletic contests while these restrictions remain in place.”
The executive order from Lee is effective now and expires on Jan. 19.
“The Governor’s office conferred with TSSAA about these restrictions,” the TSSAA release state. “TSSAA concurs with Governor’s office that these restrictions represent the best means for us to continue providing interscholastic athletic participation opportunities to our student-athletes while also doing our part to curb the spread of the virus.
“We remain hopeful that we will soon begin to see a decline in the instances of infection and that our schools will soon be able to return to more normal operation of their athletic competition.”
The move by TSSAA on Monday was expected, as Gov. Lee announced on Sunday night that he and the TSSAA office had been in communication about how to not only diminish the spread of Covid-19 in regards to high school sporting events but also find a way for the winter sports to complete their seasons.
The 2019-20 high school basketball season didn’t fully finish, as Covid-19 shutdown the Division I Girls’ Basketball State Championships just before the semifinal round. It was never completed. And the Division I Boys’ Basketball State Tournament never commenced at all.
Executive Order 70 pic.twitter.com/ly2CuE8X1Z
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) December 21, 2020