MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the spring high school sports seasons completely wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer slate is also beginning to feel the effects.
On Monday, the American Legion announced it was canceling its season nationwide, which includes West Virginia and Morgantown Post 2.
The shutdown cancels the American Legion World Series, as well as the regional and state tournaments. However, in a Monday release, the organization announced teams can still play games, but it will not be under the umbrella of the American Legion.
“The American Legion National Organization has shut down all sponsorship and all involvement in baseball for the 2020 season,” the release said. “This shutdown of all sponsorship and all involvement in baseball for the 2020 season means that those baseball teams that wish to continue playing 2020 season baseball shall be participating in a sporting event not sponsored, nor endorsed in any manner, by the American Legion National Organization, but sponsored and endorsed solely by the group the team is named.”
Departments that still play this summer will need to determine their rules, guidelines, schedules, insurance coverages, etc., for their own programs.
For Post 2, manager Tyler Barnette expects more answers to come Saturday during a statewide conference call on whether it will play this season.
“The American Legion decision essentially left all the decisions and liability with each individual team and their sponsor,” he said. “This whole situation has been complicated and frustrating. We respect the decisions made by the American Legion — they have the entire country to worry about while we just have one team. I think they made the right call concerning the health and safety of everyone involved. But now, that same decision lies on our shoulders on how to handle this unique situation.”
Barnette said it will come down on what’s best for the players, coaches, parents and sponsors, but if Post 2 is able to play, it would be a few games in a condensed and unsanctioned regular season. There will be no postseason tournaments on the line.
It will also rely on what other teams get the OK to play in order to fill out a schedule.
Post 2 won the West Virginia state championship last season before losing at the regional tournament in North Carolina. Morgantown, which features players from Morgantown, University, Clay-Battelle and other area high schools, finished an impressive campaign at 35-10 and had hopes to build off that success.
“I have talked to a couple guys, but there’s not much that I can tell them right now other than we are weighing our options,” Barnette said. “When we figure out the best course of action, I will make sure to talk with everyone I can.”