Jay Bellar's first item of business Thursday morning when the executive director got to the Nebraska School Activities Association office was determined Wednesday night by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
That was when the governor announced schools across the state would be closed through May 31 because of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. It was an edict that determined the final fate of a spring high school sports season that had already been suspended twice, the latest to May 1.
"After meeting with staff and (NSAA board of directors Chairman) Mark Norvell this morning, we saw no way forward after the governor's announcement," Bellar said. "We feel really bad for the kids, and especially the seniors who lost their final high school season."
The NSAA announced Thursday that all activities, including district and state competitions, have been canceled for the school year.
Students in Nebraska will not be returning to the classroom this spring.
The affected sports are track and field, baseball, soccer, boys golf and girls tennis. The cancellation of those state championships mean another financial hit for the NSAA, which had to play last month's boys state basketball tournament without fans, limiting admission to immediate family of players and coaches.
"Track and soccer (state championships) are pretty good moneymakers for us, and we don't lose money with (state) baseball,'' Bellar said. "We're still trying to figure out the financial impact of all this, but we'll worry about that later. There are more important things at stake right now than money."
Nebraska follows a growing list of states to cancel spring sports. Kansas canceled its spring slate on March 17. Virginia later followed.
Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Colorado and Missouri are among the states in the region that have left the door open for shortened spring seasons. Iowa runs its baseball and softball seasons during the summer.
South Dakota, in fact, remains committed to finishing its state basketball tournament at the moment, at least.
Despite schools being closed, the May 1 option enrollment transfer list deadline remains unchanged, the NSAA announced. Bellar said he hasn't heard of any issues so far from parents wanting to transfer their son or daughter, nor from the schools.
"If problems arise, that's a date we can adjust if we need to," Bellar said.
The NSAA's Representative Assembly and board of director meetings are still scheduled for May 21.
Heart...Broken💔— Jeremy (@Jeremy_peters15) April 2, 2020
Disappointing reality......— John Maessner (@MaessnerJohn) April 2, 2020
summer sports...no school to schedule around so games can be played all day everyday! the season could be salvaged in just one summer month with some sort of championship at the end. plz have some hope so we can have some too @LPSorg @nsaahome https://t.co/BprkML6BLJ— Karson Jeffrey (@KenVanHoffen5) April 2, 2020
Sad day for so many across our state.— Kurt Earl (@KurtEarl14) April 2, 2020
Obviously, there are millions of people all over the world suffering through much more severe consequences than this and we know this is just part of a much greater tragedy.@nsaahome Thank you for your leadership in this challenging time. https://t.co/ZgCJUABjvU
And one more thing. Like many of you I have several friends on the @nsaahome Board of Control. These are good, decent people put in a terrible situation, forced to make decisions that have far reaching consequences. I applaud your efforts, friends. #nebpreps— Bob Jensen (@HuskerlandBob) April 2, 2020
The Spring Sports Season has been canceled! My heart breaks for each and every girl on our team and especially for the Seniors! Seniors, thanks for everything you have done for our program! You were a great group to work with! Ladies, One last time work it to... #workittoburkeit pic.twitter.com/kDtRzMsHPr— Lady Jeffs Track (@Ladyjeffstrack) April 2, 2020
I am not sure I have the words right now to truly express myself after learning the spring sports season is officially done. Once I have the words another tweet will come. For right now, please know that amount of love I have for these girls in unexplainable. #aurorahuskies pic.twitter.com/ShLzAQGZFS— Ladyhuskysoccer (@Huskyladysoccer) April 2, 2020
We are extremely sad by the news of no spring sports, as we were looking forward to cheering on all our teams. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of the black hole this year, whether that be students or parents! Stay safe and strong during this time. #BLACKHOLENATION https://t.co/Xzlxi2Arqi— The Black Hole (@PsouthBlackHole) April 2, 2020
Seniors - Thank you for everything. It is completely unfair but if any group of Seniors can handle this situation, it is you! From the bottom of our hearts, we feel for you. Lean on each other each day. Create memories any way you can.— AG Bluejay Football (@AGBluejayFball) April 2, 2020
Once a Bluejay - Always a Bluejay! pic.twitter.com/k3whel0LU9
While I believe it was the right call, I am absolutely devastated for our seniors this year. They worked so hard for four years to have a chance to do something great for our school. We will be better because of this. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay positive!— PapioSouth Track and Field (@papiosouth) April 2, 2020
It is a sad day because we have to cancel the rest of the season. That doesn’t mean all your hard work was for nothing. Let your efforts carry you on to greater things in your future. Go Hawks!!!!— LSW Track & Field (@lsw_track) April 2, 2020
This coaching staff would like to thank the seniors for a great 4 years! Many of you have been apart of something special in helping this program accomplish things it has never done and the rest of the program will continue to do great things!Best of luck to you guys #rollstangs— MNBOYTRACKNFIELD (@runmybest1234) April 2, 2020
Fully understand decision by NSAA to cancel the spring season, but feel heartbroken for all the athletes. Especially, the seniors that never get to put the school uniform on again. It's not even like the NCAA where they can just grant them another year of eligibility. #nebpreps— Rob Else (@robertelse) April 2, 2020
If you haven’t heard, the NSAA has officially cancelled the track and field season. I am sad for everyone that lost this season. My heart goes out to all the seniors that didn’t get one last chance. I am so sorry this had to happen.— York Track & Field (@YorkDukeTandF) April 2, 2020
Was really excited to see what the 2020 team could do. Unfortunately circumstances won’t allow it. My thoughts turn to our seniors who impacted this team in all aspects of leadership, kindness, & work ethic. Thank you for commitment & all the special memories! #every1aTIGER— Hastings Track & Field (@HastingsSpeed) April 2, 2020
Certainly not the news we were hoping for regarding the spring season. Thank you to our seniors for your years of hard work and dedication.— Gross Catholic Baseb (@GrossHSBaseball) April 2, 2020
Collin, Nate B, Gio, Nate F, Garret, Max, Nolan, Jake, Colby, Trystan and Colin you are outstanding leaders and great teammates. #duxesto
This is disappointing but yet realistic. There is no sporting activity or event more important than people's lives. My prayer is that we can be back to normal by the fall. If we aren't, then that means there's still illness, death, unemployment, and hardship to too many.— Toni (@tfowler3) April 2, 2020
Today I have a heavy heart. It breaks for all the athletes that have been working since October. Putting in the early morning workouts and the late nights studying.— jen leonard (@leonard_jen) April 2, 2020
Sad they couldn’t wait to see what happens in a couple weeks & or even extend into the summer.— jeff mulder (@MulderJeff) April 2, 2020
More information will be released tomorrow morning regarding student items still at school, continued e-learning, spring activities, and other items. @nsaahome has cancelled all NSAA activities for the remainder of the year as well. #WeROverton pic.twitter.com/fu9PfF4y1C— Mr. Brian Fleischman (@principaleagle1) April 2, 2020
NPPSD Activities Update per NSAA & State of Nebraska...Tough times for many of our students, parents, coaches, and community members...Remember, tough times don’t last...tough people do...Please hang in there Bulldogs!!! WE ARE THE MIGHTY BULLDOGS!!👍🏻💪🏻💯 pic.twitter.com/gZS2W0E40q— North Platte Public School District (@nppsd) April 2, 2020
With spring sports coming to an end, I want to thank the Norris class of 2020 for changing the culture of Norris Athletics/Activities. You seniors have created winning programs for all Norris activities and have left an extremely positive mark on the Norris Community, thank you!— cade rice (@caderice2) April 2, 2020
I'm confused mostly, @GovRicketts. The pandemic is so bad that my HS senior can't play baseball or go to school. There might not be prom or graduation. But people are shopping. There is no stay-at-home order. What gives? These are seriously mixed messages. @nsaahome— Lisa Chudomelka (@lisachudie) April 2, 2020
Seniors, It's safe to say your last year of high school has not finished anything like we had planned or hoped. We still want to celebrate your successes with a Senior Spotlight. It's optional, appreciated and now open for your stories. Thank you! https://t.co/fJkBn9ttgB pic.twitter.com/wvt97KYbih— Pius X High School (@PiusXLincoln) April 2, 2020
Thank you Millard North, for giving my best friends and making me into the player and person I am today. I am forever grateful for every time I stepped out on that turf, and I wish I could just be out there one more time. Roll Stangs forever. pic.twitter.com/SxU772fbXy— gracie :) (@gracieschweers) April 2, 2020
You seniors were unable to end your school year the way that you wanted. But you will learn and grow from this ordeal. You have learned to be resilient, innovative, and creative with your actions and thoughts. Move forward and become more successful due to this. #WinTheDayPLV— Monarch Football (@PLVfootball) April 2, 2020
Well, that’s it. With the NSAA’s announcement this morning, the 2020 girls’ tennis season is over before it really ever began. While I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to coach this team in competition, I’m thankful for the time we did have together. (Cont...)— FHSTigerTennis (@Fremont_Tennis) April 2, 2020
I’ve had a lot of great experiences in my time running high school track and cross country. My favorites were running alongside my brother as well as winning a state championship this fall. Thanks to everyone who made the last 4 years great! @nsaahome #NSAAseniorsalute pic.twitter.com/HYrxluVcZ4— Jack Nolley (@JackNolley) April 3, 2020
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