A week after athletic events in Bartow County — and most of the country, for that matter — came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the sports drought for current and former local athletes continues to worsen.
Last week, high school athletes in the county saw their seasons suspended until at least March 30. Earlier this week, Gov. Brian Kemp decided to close all public schools through March 31, extending that mandatory break slightly for students in Cartersville City Schools and the Bartow County School System.
While local high school athletes can remain hopeful for a possible return to spring sports, those competing in Bartow at the middle school level have already seen their seasons officially come to an end.
An Instagram post last week by Calhoun City Schools said the Bartow-Gordon Middle School Athletic Association is "canceling all activities beginning March 16 through the end of the spring semester." All five public middle schools in the county — Adairsville, Cartersville, Cass, Red Top and Woodland — are members of the BGMSAA.
Seven days ago, LakePoint Sports made the initial decision to cancel all events through last Sunday. A day later, the Emerson-based sporting community had extended the closures through March 29. Then earlier this week, LakePoint announced all events are postponed "until further notice."
One of LakePoint's largest events of the year has been completely canceled, as Nike confirmed last Friday its EYBL stops in April wouldn't be taking place. That includes two events for girls and two for boys. The second of those boys stops was set to be April 24-26 at Champions Center.
For the Bartow athletes competing at the collegiate level, it's becoming more and more likely that their individual seasons won't resume this spring.
NAIA and NJCAA canceled their spring seasons Monday. Both organizations announced that all spring sport student-athletes will receive an additional year of eligibility. Georgia Highlands College, which has its baseball and softball programs based in Bartow, is an NJCAA member institution.
Things are trending in the same direction for NCAA-affiliated athletes. The organization already canceled its spring championships last week. In the time since, some conferences, including the ACC and SEC, have announced an end to their spring seasons. Other leagues have only postponed their seasons, leaving open the possibility — however slight — of resuming play at some point.