Spring sports season cancelled by SCHSL
The athletic fields have been empty throughout much of the spring in Greenville County, and they are going to stay that way for the rest of the school year.
There will be no spring high school sports season in South Carolina, the South Carolina High School League announced during their executive committee meeting Wednesday.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced during the SCHSL meeting Wednesday that schools will not reopen due to the spread of COVID-19.
The executive committee voted 15-0 on a resolution to cancel the spring sports season.
The SCHSL announced March 16 that sports would be delayed until at least April 2. At the next executive committee meeting on April 2 sports were postponed through April, and Wednesday the SCHSL cancelled the season.
It was a decision that many athletic directors and coaches thought might be reached by the SCHSL, but it didn't make the news that there was no chance of having any spring sports this season any easier.
"We kind of knew it was coming, but you hold on to a little strand of hope that the season isn’t over yet. The final horn went off," Riverside High School athletic director and baseball coach Michael Pettit said. "You immediately go to the seniors. I feel horrible for them and I wish there was something we could do.
"The worst part is that I can’t give them a hug and tell them I love them. All my guys know that, but not being able to tell them myself and console them kind of hurts."
Pettit said there are only two days each baseball season that he doesn't like, cut day and when the season ends.
This season's final day was different. He said players aren't going to have the sense of closure that they would have if they had gone out on their own terms, even if it came during a loss.
McMaster's announcement came during the SCHSL meeting, and Mauldin athletic director and baseball coach Jim Maciejewski had one announcement on the television and the other on his phone.
He was one of the holdouts, not committed to give the season over to a virus. Wednesday that fight ended, and he had to address his team and tell them they wouldn't be playing anymore.
"There’s no words that can take that pain, frustration, disappointment and confusion away from 14-18 year-old-kids," he said. "It was hard, and I’m sure our other coaches have had the same discussion with their kids."
Maciejewski said the word that he used with his team was appreciation. Not just appreciation of baseball, but he hoped in the months to follow his team appreciates each other.
"We love baseball, we love coaching them, but the appreciation and joy we get is from being around the kids," he said. "We’ll be able to get out and throw BP, hit ground balls and all the things it takes to play baseball, but we’re never going to have this group of kids together again. It was so abbreviated and so fast and I think that’s the hard part."
There are still decisions to made going forward. just not involving spring sports.
The cancellations by the SCHSL included spring football and cheerleading tryouts, which could be rescheduled for the summer.
Maciejewski was introduced earlier this month as the athletic director for Mauldin and he said navigating the rough terrain of the next few months will be a challenge.
"There’s so many things still up in the air," he said. "There’s no template, you’re just trying to follow the guidelines and piece things together as we go. Decisions were made but it still feels like we’re in a holding pattern."
For now, schools will wait until June 1 for a decision on what the summer schedule will look like. Pettit said he's fully ready to start on that date if it's safe.
He also said that while this is a difficult day of him, he doesn't think anger will help during troubling times.
"I know a lot of people are upset at the high school league, but at the end of the day they have to follow the governor," he said. "I get it, I love athletics, it’s my job. For awhile people started to take athletics for granted and I think we’re starting to see that athletics holds our society together.
"The number one thing is keeping everyone safe. We’re going to try to handle this the best we can, I won’t sit here and say the governor was right or wrong, we’re doing what we think is right to keep the kids in the community safe, and I don’t think you can be wrong in any of those decisions.