EDMOND, Okla. — Amidst concerns over transmission of the respiratory sickness COVID-19, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletics Association will postpone the Class 2A through Class 6A brackets of the OSSAA State Basketball Tournaments.
The OSSAA held a press conference at their offices located in Oklahoma City Thursday following the announcement. It was there that Executive Director David Jackson confirmed the postponements, as well as mentioning that no rescheduling date exists currently.
“Due to the risk of students across the state playing in our activities, we have decided to postpone all OSSAA sponsored activities for the weekend,” Jackson said. “We haven’t decided when those activities will be rescheduled.”
The weekend activities include the Class 2A through Class 6A State Basketball tournaments this weekend, as well as an OSSAA singing competition that Jackson mentioned during the conference.
The basketball tournaments, which were slated to begin today, had four Edmond teams participating in them, including the Deer Creek and Edmond North girls and the Oklahoma Christian School and Edmond Memorial boys rosters.
Edmond Public Schools Athletic Director Mike Nunley confirmed the decision, stating that he and his programs understand that the OSSAA has the students’ best interests in mind.
“Edmond Public Schools will abide by any and all decisions made by the OSSAA,” Nunley stated Thursday. “We respect and acknowledge that they are doing what they feel is best for the students in our schools.”
The Oklahoman’s Cam Jourdan was first to report the news thirty minutes before the OSSAA’s scheduled 12:30 p.m. press conference. The organization had already suspended play at the 2A State Tournament prior to the announcement of the press conference.
The OSSAA’s conference, which was uploaded to youtube Thursday afternoon, made no mention of non-OSSAA events. But, later, the organization said on twitter that those decisions — like soccer and baseball competitions — will be decided by their respective district administrations.
Currently, Thursday’s track meet at Bishop McGuinness and Edmond schools’ respective soccer competitions have been postponed, too.
No current plans have been announced as to how long the state tournament postponement should last. Edmond Memorial and Oklahoma Christian School were to play at 2 p.m. at Tulsa Memorial High School and Oklahoma City University, respectively. North and Deer Creek were both slated in consecutive, back-to-back games in tonight’s nightcap in Oral Roberts’ Mabee Center.
More than just the virus will cause issues for the OSSAA’s rescheduling, Jackson said Thursday, with most schools — both college and high school — adopting different ideas of how best to combat the potential spread of the virus.
“There is no picture of how long of a delay we could have until (the state tournament) is cancelled,” Jackson said. “Schools may have extended spring breaks, we can’t pin down a time that we can resume this. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The decision to suspend Thursday’s events came near-noon on Thursday, flipping from the organizations decided plan of going forward with the games after surface of the concerns arose Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday, the organization had a message posted to their OSSAA website stating that the plans were to go forward as continued, with some hygiene recommendations for those attending. But the plan was changed, especially with the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchel testing positive for COVID-19.
“When it was discovered that Donovan Mitchell tested positive, we immediately were in contact with Del City officials, as well as state health officials,” Jackson said. “When it was determined that he did test positive, that he did have contact with some students at Del City — that escalated the decision.”
Mitchell had been at the Del City schools on Wednesday, and a photo was posted with his arm around a young student. Concerns arose around Utah’s shooting guard after his teammate Rudy Gobert was the first in the NBA to test positive for the virus, causing a postponement in Utah’s game Wednesday with the Oklahoma City Thunder. All Utah Jazz personnel were subsequently tested, and Mitchell was found to have contracted the virus.