The clock is ticking when it comes to HOOPLA in 2024.  If things hold, the continued stalemate in negotiations between the government and Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation could result in this year's senior basketball tournament being wiped off the schedule.

Just prior to 12:00 PM on Monday, the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association released a statement detailing the current dealings of the season ending provincial tournament set for this upcoming weekend in Moose Jaw. 

"With the STF job action announcement on Monday morning, the Board of Directors has determined that HOOPLA will continue if efforts between the two bargaining committees can result in sanctions being lifted before 3:00 PM on Wednesday, March 20, 2024," stated the SHSAA release on Wednesday. "If sanctions are not lifted, HOOPLA will be cancelled due to the lack of teacher involvement in the events and constraints for schools and host sites in planning and preparing for the events."

HOOPLA relies heavily on volunteers, typically teachers, to provide this experience to Saskatchewan athletes. Without this staff support, no SHSAA events can be offered, consistent with statements from previous Board of Directors.

"It will be extremely disappointing if the two sides cannot come to an arrangement that will allow the sanctions to be lifted. Approximately 750 students plus coaches, managers and other team personnel would be impacted by the cancellation as will several other organizations and entities that are involved with SHSAA and the hosting of basketball playoffs. The negative economic impact will be vast."

Wilkie, and LCBI out of Outlook were the only two local schools to advance on to HOOPLA, and WestCentralOnline has reached out to the possible participants for comments on the situation.

It's a tough scenario to end a season.

"SHSAA playoffs are a celebration of school sport in our province and provide a showcase for student-led athletes as they finish their season of play. The playoffs are one of many programs that SHSAA utilizes to achieve the goals of school sport. The critical life skills that student-athletes attain are accumulated through months of participation in a school sport program," it continued, "That being said, it cannot be denied that an opportunity to participate in school sport playoffs is another means to enhance learning opportunities of students as they develop citizenship skills in a competitive sport environment."

The release finished with the SHSAA stating their Board of Directors and office staff would not be available for any further comments, instead stating they would, "urge the two sides to come together to alleviate the situation by 3:00 PM on Wednesday, March 20.