Boys basketball tournament action during the 2016 Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic final, in Surrey. (Now-Leader file photo)

Boys basketball tournament action during the 2016 Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic final, in Surrey. (Now-Leader file photo)

‘Stunned’: School sports tournaments still on hold in B.C., but club tourneys can start Feb. 1

‘To have this decision made at such a critical time of year is disheartening for everyone involved in school sport’

B.C. School Sports officials are “stunned” with a Ministry of Education decision to not allow school sports tournaments to take place in coming weeks, possibly longer, in line with the return of club and community sports tournaments starting Feb. 1.

The decision puts a wrench in plans for high school basketball and other tournaments in the province.

“Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education has made the decision to keep the Addendum of K- 12 Guidelines in place without changes, meaning that all school sports tournaments are still prohibited from taking place,” Jordan Abney, executive director of BC School Sports, said in a memorandum to member administrators and athletic directors on Friday (Jan. 28).

“Any event, single-day, or multi-day event with more than 2 teams participating cannot take place at this time. Single games may still occur, in accordance with the previous guidance provided.”

Abney said the organization was told the news by the Ministry of Education after the ministry reviewed updates to Provincial Health Officer orders that allow sporting tournaments for kids and youth starting Tuesday, Feb. 1.

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“We were in contact many times this week providing critical information on the importance of these events, and the tight timelines due upcoming zone and provincial events,” Abney wrote.

“We communicated that having to adapt zone events would have a significant impact on the direct financial costs for kids and their families, the costs to schools, the impact on school time missed, or events that may not even happen at all. We expressed our concern about the immense cost that our student-athletes have felt already over the past 24 months.”

Abney said the organization is “stunned” by this week’s decision, “as there was commitment made this year to ensuring club and community sport access remained equal to school sport. To have this decision made at such a critical time of year is disheartening for everyone involved in school sport and continues to threaten and erode at the long-term health and sustainability of school sport.

“The Ministry has indicated this will be reviewed on a week-by-week basis, but with no firm indication of when the K-12 Guidelines may be altered to align with the orders as put in place by the Provincial Health Officer.”

At this time, Abney added, “we are not cancelling provincial events, and continue to plan for these events, as well as variable contingencies that may be required. We will update the membership as soon as more information becomes available.”

High School Sports

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