Alaska State Basketball Tournaments officially canceled

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Three days after the Alaska School Activities Association postponed the 2020 State Basketball Championships, ASAA announced the official cancellation on Saturday.

"ASAA agrees with the State of Alaska’s assessment that our best course of action in dealing with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is to slow down the statewide spreading of the virus," the governing body stated in a press release. "One of the ways to mitigate the spread is to not have large statewide gatherings. March Madness Alaska is possibly the largest statewide gathering each year and ASAA would not be acting responsibly if we were to host this year’s event."

While some conference tournaments across the state still played out over the weekend, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District canceled the Aurora and Mid Alaska Conference tournaments that were set for March 12-14 at North Pole High School on Wednesday.

ASAA's complete release:

"The Alaska School Activities Association is announcing the cancellation of the 2020 State Basketball and Cheer Championships. This decision is based on the following:
• On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the State of Alaska and the Alaska School Activities Association announced the postponement of the State Basketball and Cheer Championships.
• On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Chief Medical Officer, the Alaska Division of Public Health and the Office of the Governor issued its first health mandate. As part of Mandate 1.2, from March 16 through March 30, all public schools are to be operated as non-student contact days in which students will not be attending school. During this time, all after school activities are to be suspended.
• The purpose of the postponement and mandate is to reduce the possibility for spreading Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

ASAA agrees with the State of Alaska’s assessment that our best course of action in dealing with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is to slow down the statewide spreading of the virus. One of the ways to mitigate the spread is to not have large statewide gatherings. March Madness Alaska is possibly the largest statewide gathering each year and ASAA would not be acting responsibly if we were to host this year’s event. ASAA understands many students and adults will be severely disappointed by the need to cancel March Madness Alaska. However, when discussing the merits of educational based activity participation, concepts such as “teamwork” and “sacrifice” are often mentioned. This is a time when these concepts will be applied, in order to help best protect our State. ASAA’s stated mission is to strengthen student wellness, academic and social development by advocating equitable participation and fostering healthy competition for ALL Alaska students. #winforlife. By “win for life” ASAA hopes to convey the benefits of educational based activities go with the student well beyond their last contest or event. Our State is fortunate to have dedicated coaches and advisors that help students gain these benefits both in victory and defeat. Cancelling a state tournament is not something we take lightly. We recognize that for many student’s this opportunity will not come again. However, we prioritize the health of our students, coaches, school staffs, fans and elders over the want to determine this year’s champions."

An online petition was created Friday afternoon, encouraging the state championships still go on, but without spectators. The petition reached over 2,200 signatures and counting at publishing time.