3-19-2020 Update: The WIAA Board of Control voted to cancel its 2020 annual meeting and to delay making a determination on the continuation or cancellation of the spring sports seasons and tournaments at a special meeting Thursday. Part of the release read: "Given the directives of Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services, and after a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to postpone any decision to cancel the spring sports seasons and the spring State Tournament Series until a later date. The position is consistent with the current state and local guidelines, as well as advice from the Sports Medical Advisory Committee. A clear position may unfold as developments arise and new information becomes available. the WIAA will continue to follow the directives and guidance of state health and governmental officials pertains to the outbreak."

 Monday was supposed to mark the first day of practice for the Ripon High School softball team, as well as the reporting of pitchers and catchers for baseball.

   They were slated to join track and field as sports to get underway, with the full baseball team, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis and golf teams slated to follow in coming weeks.

   None of that will be happening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as “coronavirus.”

   Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers made that decision in his executive order last week Friday, which ordered “the closure of all public and private Wisconsin schools for purposes of pupil interaction and extracurricular activities” beginning today (Wednesday) and with an anticipated reopening of Monday, April 6. The date is subject to change pending further information.

   The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) added in a statement Sunday that “... all school training, practices, scrimmages and contests are suspended. 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.”

   Ripon High School Athletic Director Bill Kinziger, who was planning on proceeding with in-district practices prior to Evers’ announcement last week, is in support of the difficult decision that was made.

   “I completely understand why the governor and the WIAA are doing what they are doing,” he said. “The more research I do, the more I realize that social distancing is so important to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.”

   Kinziger added “the thing you cannot argue with is safety. I appreciate that the governor, the WIAA, and the Ripon Area School District has put the safety of our students and coaches/teachers as their No. 1 priority.”

   As for what it means for the future of the spring sports season, the Ripon High School athletic director noted schools throughout the state will play the waiting game.

Read the full story in the March 19, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.