At 1:15 or so this afternoon I will again get to announce a state basketball tournament on this radio station.
Someone on a sports announcer Facebook page asked the members how many state tournaments they had gotten to announce. In my case, the answer is five football championship games, three boys basketball tournaments, two girls basketball tournaments (with the right teams winning in each), two spring baseball tournaments, one summer baseball tournament, one boys soccer tournament and one girls volleyball tournament. That list includes six state champions. Not bad for a part-time announcer, who feels very blessed to be able to this as essentially a hobby that, unlike most hobbies, makes money.
And now, this message from the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association:
The WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament and the boys basketball sectionals scheduled for this week are continuing as planned.
The WIAA Executive Staff has been in continuous discussions with local and state health officials and organizations, as well as other high school associations in the Midwest. We continue to look at all the medical evidence and breaking information regarding COVID 19 to make the best decision possible with the information available to us.
While circumstances may change, all of the leading health resources we have been working with indicate the best way to proceed is to be overcautious and reinforce the universal guidance and precautions to know your health risk, especially those at higher risk for severe illness; wash hands repeatedly with soap or sanitizer; cover your sneeze or cough; keep hands away from your face; and if you feel sick, stay at home.
We will continue to monitor any new information, and if anything changes with our Tournament Series events, we will issue a statement. …
At this time, we have discussed options for continuing to conduct the WIAA Basketball State Tournaments. The staff at the Resch Center has been diligently working to ensure that the 2020 WIAA Girls Basketball State Tournament can be conducted in a safe environment.
- Obviously increasing all of their cleaning efforts. This includes all departments
- Wiping down all areas with disinfectants
- Providing hand sanitizers for all of our staff working the event
- Providing hand sanitizers available to the public and all of our restrooms will make sure all of our restrooms have hot water and soap
- Concessions taking extra care with wiping down all counters and equipment
- Overnight staff will be cleaning all confined spaces—locker rooms, elevators, meeting rooms will all be sanitized
- Allowing and promoting if patrons want to bring in their own hand sanitizers or Purell
- Major signage in the venue both static and electronic with messages provided by the CDC
… While we hear that universities and colleges have been closing their campuses, it is important to keep in mind that their student populations include international students who are returning to campus from spring break and countries which may have been infected more. In addition, those students are being quarantined as they return. …
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that the immediate health risk in the United States is low for the general public.
This is an appropriately measured response by the WIAA.
This, from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is not:
The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance. While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.