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MHSAA suspends athletics and activities until March 29

The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced Monday that it is suspending all sanctioned athletic contests and activities until March 29 because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

The suspension is effective immediately and applies to both sports and fine arts activities such as band. It applies whether or not a school is open or closed during the timeline.

The MHSAA had initially opted to monitor the situation late last week as most college and professional sports leagues canceled or suspended their seasons. On Saturday the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools announced a one-week suspension of all activities.

On Monday morning, the 15-member MHSAA executive committee held a conference call in which it decided to suspend activities for two weeks.

Many individual school districts, including the Vicksburg Warren School District and most in the Jackson Metro area, had already announced they would remain closed through at least this week. The forced closures include canceling games and practices, and likely influenced the MHSAA’s decision to institute a statewide suspension.

“We urge our member schools and their communities to take every possible precaution to remain safe and healthy,” MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said in a statement. “MHSAA leadership is working diligently to adjust to this rapidly evolving situation and will share updates as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this unfortunate situation together.”

In announcing the decision, the MHSAA said it is developing plans to continue regular-season competition and a return to play. State championship events are also being reviewed, and could be moved to new dates and venues.

“A decision to continue spring contests and activities will be made as soon as possible in the best interests of the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and communities,” the MHSAA’s statement read.

Also on Monday, the Mississippi Association of Coaches announced that the Mississippi basketball all-star games scheduled for March 21 have been postponed. No makeup date was announced.

Vicksburg High’s Jaden Williams was picked to play in the boys’ all-star game.
The Mississippi-Alabama basketball all-star games were played as scheduled on Friday night in Clinton, but with crowds restricted to a limited number of family of players and coaches.

Alabama beat Mississippi 118-97 in the boys’ all-star game Friday, and Alabama also won the girls’ game 70-63.

Warren Central’s Jabari Bowman played in the boys’ Mississippi-Alabama game.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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