HELENA -- The Montana High School Association executive board has decided to suspend spring activities across Montana following the growing threat and concern of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
"All MHSA spring activities will be indefinitely suspended until further notice," stated a release sent Monday morning. "This includes practices and contests/meets/festivals.The Executive Board will reevaluate this situation on April 13 and any additional information regarding spring activities will be provided as it becomes available."
"If spring activities are resumed, the practice requirement for sports at that time will be five practices from resumption, except for golf, which will be the normal two practices required," the release continued. "Postseason formats will be adjusted by conferences as necessary with MHSA approval."
Montana governor Steve Bullock implemented a two-week closure of public schools on Sunday, effective from March 16-27. MHSA executive director Mark Beckman told MTN Sports on Sunday that their office would follow the recommendations from the governor's office, Montana Public Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Office of Public Instruction regarding activities in the Treasure State.
Practices for spring sports began last week, with events for athletes with the required number of practices available as early as this weekend. According to Athletic.net, which tracks Montana's track and field results, Corvallis was scheduled to host the Blue Devil Invitational on Saturday, March 21.
Golfers are required to participate in only two days of practice, on two different days, before being allowed to participate in events, while athletes in track and field, softball and tennis are required to fulfill 10 practices.
Monday's news comes after a whirlwind week that saw professional sports leagues like the NBA and NHL suspend their seasons, while the NCAA and NAIA canceled their men's and women's national basketball tournaments, including the NAIA Division I women's tournament that was set to be held in Billings this week.
The MHSA wasn't affected until Friday evening, when its state basketball tournaments came to an abrupt halt after the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 were found in Montana. Teams finished their semifinal games in Billings, Bozeman, Butte and Missoula, crowning the winners co-champions.
The annual Great Falls softball jamboree was scheduled the following weekend, March 28.