Sweet 16 boys, girls tournaments suspended indefinitely


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Only hours after limiting attendance at girls games and halting ticket sales for boys games, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association has suspende play in the state’s Sweet 16 high school basketball championships.

In a statement, the KHSAA said:

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Based on additional information and guidance from both the Kentucky Department of Education and the Governor’s office in the last hour, at this time, the girls’ state tournament is postponed indefinitely effective with the conclusion of game five. Next week’s boys’ basketball tournament is also postponed indefinitely. The Association will try and seek options for rescheduling later in the spring if at all possible, but not until after we have received collaborative approval from our Governor’s office, the Commissioner of Public Health and the Kentucky Department of Education.

As has been stated for the last two weeks, the situation with the COVID-19 or Coronavirus is extremely fluid. As announced earlier today, our intention was to attempt to complete this first tournament with restrictions, however, this does not appear to be a wise option at this time and is not in the best interest of the student-athletes and the thousands of individuals who attend these events. The KHSAA has to make the health and welfare of the citizens of our great Commonwealth the primary factor in our decision-making process in dealing with this issue.

We are hopeful that with all of the collaborative efforts of the citizens of our Commonwealth, we see this situation subside very quickly, and we have to be leaders in that journey. We also encourage all Kentucky citizens to pay close attention to the CDC and Kentucky health information at kycovid19.ky.gov and strictly adhere to those CDC guidelines, which are always subject to revision as we learn more about the virus.

Announcements will be coming later today regarding refund options for tickets that were purchased as well as other logistics and information for fans.

That came after the athletic association has instructed high schools to stop selling tickets to next week’s boys Sweet 16 state high school basketball championship.

Athletic directors and principals were notified Thursday morning and began tweeting out the news. Also, during a hastily called press conference Thursday morning, Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett announced there will be “an extreme limit” of people who will be allowed to attend the Girls’ Sweet 16 starting Friday.

The girls tournament started its second day at noon Thursday.

The Boys Sweet 16 is scheduled for March 18-22 at Rupp Arena.

“The best-case scenario is an announcement that the virus is gone, but that’s probably not going to happen,” Tackett said Wednesday when discussing the coronavirus and its impact on the tournaments.. “The worst-case scenario is some form of directive that says, ‘Don’t play at all.’ We’re trying to find an answer in the middle, and I think we have a pretty good idea. I don’t want it to drag on.”

During a Wednesday press conference, Tackett suggested one option was limiting attendance to minimize potential exposure to fans, players and administrators.

Tackett said one scenario is limiting the number of fans who can attend the games.

For last year’s boys tournament, just over 96,000 fans attended the eight sessions which span five days. Almost 12,000 attended the championship game alone.