Spring sports seasons end abruptly for prep athletes with rest of school year being canceled

After weeks of postponements and general uncertainty, spring high school sports in Utah are officially done.

The Utah High School Activities Association announced Tuesday afternoon that all spring sports and activities were canceled, including state championship tournaments.

“The UHSAA Board of Trustees promotes the benefits of participating in education-based high school activities and recognizes the overwhelming disappointment this decision is for the students and athletes, especially seniors,” the UHSAA said in a statement. “The board’s highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of the students, schools and communities during this challenging time and looks forward to the day when students are again participating in education-based activities.”

The UHSAA’s cancellations put an immediate end to the baseball, softball, lacrosse, boys’ soccer, girls’ golf, boys’ tennis and boys’ and girls’ track and field seasons.

The decision comes after Gov. Gary Herbert’s decision to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The original plan was to return to classes next month.

Sports were also in a holding pattern. The UHSAA in late March extended its hiatus until at least May 1. That decision was also based on Herbert’s direction to extend the soft closure of schools throughout the state.

The UHSAA said practices and use of school facilities are still prohibited. The association’s board of trustees plans to meet in the coming weeks to address member schools’ concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association also suggested that fall sports could be affected by the pandemic. Fall sports, including football, typically run conditioning workouts for their players throughout the summer.

“While the UHSAA staff remains optimistic that fall sports will commence as scheduled, it is still too early to reach any decisions or offer guidance at this time,” the association said. “The UHSAA staff will continue to monitor any additional information provided by the Governor’s Office and the State Superintendent’s Office as it relates to interscholastic activities.”

Brett Rosen, coach of the defending 5A champion Brighton High boys’ soccer team, had already been nervous about the spring season being canceled.

“I understand that sports are not the most important thing but I would love to see us try all we can to get a season scheduled,” Rosen told The Salt Lake Tribune last week. “Soccer is an outlet for many of the boys. They have been trying to practice as much as they can on their own and in small groups but they miss their teammates. They miss the competitiveness of the sport, they miss the challenge and they miss their soccer family.”