AURORA | Colorado High School Activities Association Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green penned a letter to the public Wednesday to “keep an open line of communication from our office to you” in regards to the ongoing Coronavirus concerns in the state.
Blanford-Green said that boys and girls state basketball tournaments scheduled to conclude this weekend are currently still planned as scheduled, but “out of an abundance of caution,” urged people over the age of 60 (considered the most affected age group) and other at-risk individuals not to attend.
CHSAA will continue to monitor the situation to “make the best decisions on behalf of our students and our high school fans and communities (full text of CHSAA letter below).
One state championship event got completed Tuesday night when Valor Christian outlasted Fort Collins 1-0 in five overtimes in the state final.
The Grandview girls basketball team is scheduled to play Valor Christian at 7 p.m. Thursday in a 5A girls Final Four contest at the Denver Coliseum, while an all-Aurora battle between Rangeview and Grandview is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. State championship games are currently scheduled for Saturday evening.
The games will be streamed online by the NFHS Network, which currently requires a subscription. A tweet from Blanford-Green indicated CHSAA was “working on a collaborative partnership to absorb the costs and stream games at no cost to our school communities!! Stay tuned!!”
Things have taken a different turn in other places around the country, including in Nebraska, where Blanford-Green served as executive director at the Nebraska School Activities Association from 2012-15.
Per reporting by the Associated Press, Nebraska is the latest state to limit attendance or cancel a state high school championship tournament.
The Nebraska boys’ basketball tournament will be played as scheduled Thursday through Saturday, but the only fans allowed into the venues will be participants’ immediate families.
The Lincoln and Lancaster County Health Department recommended limiting spectators because of concern about the spread of coronavirus. Health officials announced this week that a Crofton High School student who attended the girls’ tournament in Lincoln last week was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Ohio announced that only participants’ families and media will be allowed to attend winter sports postseason tournaments.
Connecticut has canceled the remainder of its winter sports seasons as well as state tournaments.
Boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments in New York and Pennsylvania have been disrupted because several schools have declined to host games, forcing them to be rescheduled.
— The Associated Press’ Eric Olsen contributed to this report
A LETTER FROM COMMISSIONER RHONDA BLANFORD-GREEN TO HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS, FANS, COMMUNITIES
Dear Colorado high school basketball participants, coaches, fans, communities, and CHSAA supporters:
I am writing you today to keep an open line of communication from our office to you with regard to COVID-19 and our culminating championships.
We are in direct contact with relevant state agencies, as well as the host facilities, which would guide us in making any changes in the schedule to our state basketball tournaments. Last week, we let you know that our plan is to conduct the championship events unless directed by state agencies and/or facility administration of cancellations. On Tuesday, we reiterated that plan.
Per state guidance, and out of an abundance of caution, we are encouraging those above the age of 60, or those in at-risk populations, to avoid large crowds, as data shows they are more susceptible to contracting the COVID-19, if exposed.
We will remain in contact with those monitoring the situation to make the best decisions on behalf of our students and our high school fans and communities.
Our student-athletes, high school fans and communities, are at the forefront of any decisions we would make moving forward, regardless of financial impact. We fully understand and believe in what our tournaments mean to our communities, and our goal is to uphold the experience of the participants and fans without compromising health or safety. We are open to all options going forward if a directive which impacts our state tournaments is made by state agencies.
We will continue to support the local administrative decisions made in the best interests of their school communities.
— Full CHSAA release, here