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This story was updated Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 10:55 p.m. with more information.

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The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association announced late Thursday evening that the girls' and boys' basketball state tournaments are being suspended indefinitely due to concerns regarding the novel coronavirus.

The girls' state tournament wrapped up its quarterfinal round Thursday, but the semifinals and championships will not be played this weekend, and whether either tournament will be played at all is now in doubt.

"Following the conclusion of the girls' state basketball tournament quarterfinal round today, we are suspending the remainder of the girls' state tournament and next week's boys' state tournament," TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said in a news release. "Whether we will be able to reschedule these events will depend on the length of the suspension and the availability of facilities."

Earlier on Thursday the TSSAA had released a plan to limit the attendance for those tournaments but then altered that plan and did not elaborate on when — or if — the tournaments would be made up.

(Read more coronavirus coverage here) 

"We intended to conduct the tournaments with restricted attendance as we announced earlier," Childress added. "However, today has seen the suspension or cancellation of championship events by the NCAA and multiple collegiate conferences including the SEC tournament that was being played nearby; the suspension of regular-season play in the NBA and the NHL; the closure of university campuses and of several Tennessee public school systems; and the suspension or cancellation of high school championships in multiple other states.

"COVID-19 is a public health threat, a threat to our student-athletes and our school communities. With the actions being taken all around us, including the action of our host university MTSU in sending all students away from campus, we believe it would be irresponsible and contrary to the public interest for us to continue our tournaments at this time and risk contributing to the spread of the virus.

"We will provide further updates as this pandemic evolves, including updates on whether we will be able to reschedule these tournaments."

Class AAA's Cleveland is the only Chattanooga-area public school that qualified for the boys' state tournament and was scheduled to play Whitehaven at 11 a.m. EDT next Wednesday.

"I just got off the phone with my principal and athletic director, and I will talk with my guys tomorrow at practice," Cleveland coach Reggie Tucker said. "I haven't had a chance to discuss the situation with them yet."

The TSSAA state tournaments for private schools were held last week in Nashville, with Baylor's boys and girls both advancing to those events.

 

GHSA actions

The Georgia High School Association issued a release Thursday in which it postponed the state literary competitions and, citing the need for state school systems to make their own decisions, stated suspending play in all spring sports is recommended.

The statement from GHSA executive director Robin Hines read:

"Following a statement by Governor Brian Kemp Thursday afternoon, the Georgia High School Association is postponing the State Literary competitions scheduled for March 14 and March 21, and further recommending that all member schools suspend spring sports activities until further notice.

"The regular season belongs to the schools themselves. We can only recommend that they suspend playing. The final decision will rest with the local school systems, but we hope they heed the Governor's and the GHSA's recommendations."

As of Thursday night, several northwest Georgia school systems were considering their options. Whitfield County schools, one administrator said, have canceled all athletic events "until further notice."

Confirmations have also come from Catoosa County, Trion City schools and Christian Heritage High School that all athletic events have been canceled for the next two weeks.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

 

 

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