Aurora and MAC basketball tournaments in North Pole postponed by school district due to coronavirus

Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 7:56 PM AKDT
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Hours after the Alaska School Activities Association announced the indefinite postponement of the state championships, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District sent out an email about the Mid-Alaska and Aurora Conference tournaments. The school district announced that the tournaments would be postponed.

"While the news is upsetting to the athletes and all those affected,” in the email from the FNSBSD. “We are trying to ensure that the health of our staff, students, and community members is top priority."

With ASAA also putting off conference tournaments after March 14, there is concern if the state championships will happen.

“State-wide gatherings like March Madness, as awesome as they are, they then take all that back to the entire state at the same time,” said ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland. “I think that is sound reasoning on why to not have these state-wide events, so that the health industry doesn't get overwhelmed."

The Aurora Conference tournament, composed of Monroe Catholic, Delta-Junction, Hutchison, Valdez, Galena and Eielson, was scheduled to tip-off at 9 A.M. Thursday at North Pole High School. The Mid Alaska Conference tournament, featuring West Valley, Lathrop and North Pole, was set to begin at 3:30 P.M. Friday.

“All after school sports, activities and events are cancelled as well, including all practices,” said FNSBSD Superintendent Karen Gaborik in a press release. “It is also very likely that all outside events scheduled in our school buildings and venues will be cancelled.”

Strickland and ASAA hope to have decisions made by Monday in regards to the state tournament. The 1A/2A Alaska state tournaments for basketball were slated to start next week on March 18 in Anchorage.

“Once it's been postponed, we should go ahead and look at actually having to cancel the event,” said Billy Strickland. “So that's one part of what we're trying to figure out, what our options are right there."

This story will be updated.