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WV Gov. Jim Justice Says High School Hoops ‘Looks in Real Jeopardy to Me’

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The West Virginia high school winter sports season was recently postponed until January 11 due to the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers, but on Monday the state’s governor — himself a high school girls basketball coach — said he does not have high hopes for practices starting on that day.

“Basketball looks in real jeopardy to me,” Gov. Jim Justice said during his daily press briefing Monday. “And I hate that like crazy.”

West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission executive director Bernie Dolan was a guest on MetroNews statewide radio earlier on Monday in part to address some questions about the upcoming winter sports schedule.

“I don’t think the Governor has really put his foot down and said we are definitely starting on [January] 11,” Dolan told MetroNews host Hoppy Kercheval on Monday morning. “[Justice] has said we won’t start until the 11th for sure. We will continue to adjust our schedule as needed.”

With the start of winter sports pushed into early 2021, the SSAC has looked into moving state championship dates back to adjust. The state swim meet will tentatively take place on March 18 and 19 in Morgantown, while the state wrestling tournament in Huntington will expand to four days spanning March 24 through March 27. State tournaments for girls and boys basketball at the Charleston Coliseum also have potential new dates, with the girls tournament set for March 30 through April 3 and the boys taking place the following week.

As for the status of the much maligned department of education COVID metrics map and the possibility of testing student-athletes before state tournaments, Dolan said that would have to be a group decision.

“The map is a health map, but it is also our educational map that the schools have signed off on [along with] the governor, as well as us and the medical people,” Dolan said. “It is the one map that we will follow throughout.”

“[Testing student-athletes] is not a decision we make alone. This is a decision that the state superintendent, Dr. [Clay] Marsh, Bill Crouch, the governor, we all have to sit down and agree.”

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Tom has spent the last decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia, most recently as the WVU beat writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with previous stops at the Charleston Daily Mail, the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and the Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky. He was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia -- where he currently resides -- and is a 2010 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

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