Remember the fuss over two-time state champion Piercen Hunt's decision to skip his senior season at Hartland Arrowhead over the WIAA's need to move the state boys golf tournament two weeks later created a schedule conflict with his title defense at the Western Junior Championship?
Sunday offered a sobering reminder that there is a distinct possibility the 2020 WIAA boys golf season might be in jeopardy as concerns over COVID-19 continue to grow.
The WIAA clarified in a news release what an executive order from Gov. Tony Evers implied two days earlier when it ordered the closure of all Wisconsin schools no later than Wednesday and extending until Monday, April 6 — that the spring sports season is on hold during that time, too. Since that order, many school districts have elected to suspend classes (and sports) immediately.
The governor's order suspends the track and field season, which began last week, and halts the start of the softball season (Monday), baseball and girls soccer (March 23) and boys tennis (March 30). The start of the boys golf season (April 6) falls at the end of the order's window, coincidentally the result of a 2020 schedule change caused by the American Family Insurance Championship moving to June 5-7 – the weekend before the WIAA's traditional state tournament dates – on the PGA Tour Champions schedule.
"Consistent with Gov. Evers' announcement Friday, all school training, practices, scrimmages and contests are suspended," Sunday's news release from the WIAA read. "In addition, schools and coaches may not bring students together or be involved with students during this time period for any extracurricular or athletic purposes, which includes practices and other instructional/organizational purposes. Coaches may provide individual workouts virtually, but shall not encourage or organize their team assembling to practice."
While the schedule change might buy golf some time as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be determined, WIAA assistant director Tom Shafranski, who oversees golf, told Wisconsin.Golf last week that the WIAA continues to monitor the situation and its potential impact on the regular season, let alone the WIAA tournament series. WIAA regionals are set for June 2 and 3 with sectionals (June 9-10) and state (June 15-16) to follow.
"The delayed start of boys golf may buy us some time," Shafranski wrote in an email, "(but it's) hard to say at this point."