FLORENCE, S.C. -- Don't count out the SCHSL spring sports season just yet.
Although no public-school sports activities can be held until May 1 at the earliest, the SCHSL's executive committee aims to resume sports in May -- or even June, if need be.
SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton said if school does go into June, teams should have opportunity to play if they want to.
"I appreciate what they've done," said Hartsville baseball coach Tony Gainey, who sits at 199 career wins. "They could just have very easily said, 'There's no way to do this.' Just by giving us some sort of hope, and them showing the willingness to try and let us get something done, I just owe them a lot of gratitude."
This, of course, depends on whether South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster resumes school May 1 at the earliest -- or even sometime in June.
"I know (playing the spring sports season in June) would mess up a lot of people's plans,” Gainey said. “But just giving us a shot to go into June, that just gives us some kind of hope."
For the meantime, as long as there is no in-session school (students, for now, are studying in their homes), there can be no organized athletic high school athletic activities.
As far as the suspension of contests, practices, workouts (conditioning and strength training), and/or open season skill development, SCHSL staff is trying to create options for virtual conditioning. Once an acceptable remedy is developed while following health and safety guidelines while allowing a virtual option, that will be distributed to member schools, according to the SCHSL.
There will be another SCHSL executive committee meeting April 22 to discuss this further.
"The good thing is the league is at least waiting and will then make a decision then on what they can do," South Florence baseball coach Kenny Gray said. "For now, after school instead of practice and games, I'm just doing stuff around the house that I probably haven't been able to get done in years."
But Gray knows if the season is indeed resumed, the complete season can't be played.
"With graduations, they'd want to get that in, and stuff like that. If you do go into June, obviously, we'd have to do a modified season and modified playoff to get it squeezed in during that short amount of time," Gray said.
And then, if that happens, the SCHSL must decide on other factors like whether to even let fans come to the games in light of social-distancing awareness.
So, for now, as Gainey said, there's hope for the coaches.
Hope for the athletes -- and even the parents and fans.
While neighboring state Georgia has canceled its spring sports season, North Carolina joins South Carolina in holding out hope for the resumption of spring sports.
"I was just getting ready to text my guys that there is some kind of hope," Gainey said. "It certainly lifted my spirits. My wife said I'm almost in a state of depression with no sports to play or watch.
"I now feel better that they didn't cancel the season today," he added. "I understand they're going to meet again, and we'll see what happens from there. But this -- for now -- gives you something to look forward to on the bright side. I might even go cut the grass and drag the baseball field, today."
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