One day after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a statewide shelter-in-place order and officially ordered that schools remain closed for the rest of the school year, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines announced on Thursday that all GHSA activities and sports are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

"Given the announcement yesterday by Governor Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year," Hines said in a statement following an electronically-held Board of Trustees meeting Thursday morning. "I especially want to commend the graduating seniors who have not only missed most of the spring season but prom, senior nights, awards ceremonies, possibly graduation, and spent the last few months away from their friends and classmates.

"Our seniors have a great deal to be proud of and while this is not the way any of us wanted it to end, I want to thank them for a job well done."

The statement, posted on the GHSA website (, said that despite some requests for the GHSA to allow a fifth year of eligibility to students due to this crisis, there are no plans to grant an additional year.

"As sad and disappointing as this spring has been, there is a backward trickle effect and there are many unintended consequences associated with waiving this by-law," Hines continued in the statement. "GHSA activities and sports are education-based and exist as an extension of the classroom. The culmination of all activities of a student is to lead to graduation and this will have taken place for our seniors. This is not the situation any of us would like to be in but the eight-semester rule will remain in effect."

Hines went on to say in the statement that there is currently not enough information to make any decisions concerning GHSA sports for this summer and beyond. He said the GHSA is still awaiting guidance from the NCAA on men's basketball recruiting and plans to let public know once more information becomes available.

"As I stated in the (GHSA) newsletter earlier this week, I am concerned about the summer as well as the fall," he continued. "I am hoping for the best, but there is no information available that would allow for any decision regarding when practices and workouts will be allowed. There are no GHSA activities or practices allowed until further notice."

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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