With the unpredictability of the current worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the manner in which the virus spreads, its duration and the resulting public health regulations and restrictions across the nation, The American Legion is facing an improbable situation.

The Americanism Commission, in consultation with National Commander James William “Bill” Oxford, announces cancellation of all 2020 American Legion Baseball national tournaments, inclusive of all eight 2020 Regional Tournaments and the 2020 American Legion World Series.

The awarding of American Legion Baseball scholarships and Samsung American Legion Scholarships for 2020 have also been completely suspended (Samsung American Legion Scholarships awarded in years prior to 2020 will continue to be paid out to students upon their requests to receive their funds).

Many baseball coaches are unable to complete prerequisite league play scheduled between May and July due to the closure of schools and playing facilities across the nation. In August, more than 500 players, coaches and volunteer staff are scheduled to travel and participate in eight regional tournaments and the American Legion World Series, collectively attracting thousands of fans and spectators. Many of these individuals are of a high-risk demographic.

Currently, there are 32 American Legion Boys State and 9 American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs who have found it necessary to cancel their 2020 programs due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with several more having indicated that cancellation is probable.  It is through the Boys State and Girls State programs that youth are afforded eligibility to apply for Samsung American Legion Scholarships.  Many, many Boys State and Girl State delegates did not pursue their applications for 2020 Samsung American Legion Scholarships as a result of the scores of Boys State and Girls State program cancellations.

The decision to cancel was extremely difficult but deemed necessary, first and foremost in the interest of health and safety, and in the face of uncertainty. As Americanism Commission Richard Anderson noted, “These times are unparalleled.  And while it is distressing to think of all those youth across the nation who are disappointed to learn of the cancellation of American Legion programs this year, it would be a much, much greater tragedy if even just one of those youth were to fall ill during a program.  The Americanism Commission feels this is the right thing to do.”