The North Carolina High School Atheltic Association hosted a Facebook Live video today at 2 p.m. to announce plans for sports to continue this Fall.
“You all have been waiting patiently for a decision from the NCHSAA relative to an amended sports calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Commissioner Que Tucker. “Please keep in mind that these proposed dates are dependent on COVID-19 conditions improving across NC. However, last night the Board of Directors approved a framework we believe maximizes the opportunities for students in our membership to participate in athletics at some point during this school year, regardless of what plan is a school and/or school system operates.”
The NCHSAA Board approved an amended calendar for the 2020-2021 school year in a special called meeting. The first sports that will be allowed to practice are cross-country and volleyball. Those sports can begin practice November 4. Their first competitions will happen November 16.
“This calendar represents the hard work of the NCHSAA Staff, Board of Directors and various committees such as the City/County Athletic Directors, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Sports Ad Hoc Committee,” said Tucker. “There is still much work to be done on the details of implementing athletic programs and contests during this pandemic, but we thank these committees and individuals for their hard work to bring us to this point. We recognize that this is a lot of information to digest and drastically different from the way the sport calendar has been aligned for years in North Carolina. However, as we mentioned many weeks ago, “We will play again.” In that mantra we believe, and it is in that spirit that we present this calendar.”
The new schedule has high school sports operating at different times throughout the year, most notably places the football season in the Spring. Seasons will be compressed to provide all athletes an opportunity to participate in the coming school year.
“It is the belief of the Board of Directors and our staff that this calendar provides us the greatest chance of providing interscholastic athletic opportunities to the students of the NCHSAA for the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Tucker. “We believe that this is the best path forward to a safe return to the field. Our decision-making process has been careful and calculated, as we work to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches and administrators during this unprecedented time. There is still much work to be done in regard to playoff formats, COVID-19 related rules modifications for numerous sports, securing potential playoff facilities and providing the safest possible regular season opportunities for student athletes. We are committed to that work and will continue to lead and govern interscholastic athletic programs across this state that support and enrich the educational experience provided by our member schools in such a manner to maintain the standards of excellence that the NCHSAA has become known for.”
There will still be a dead period for sports the first 5 days of the new school year, while students adjust to the new rules and procedures of the school system.
“We feel it is critically important to provide opportunities for North Carolina student athletes to participate and compete, in education-based athletics,” said Dr. Josh Bloom Statement on 2020-2021 Sport Calendar on behalf of NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC). “While there are risks with resuming NCHSAA sanctioned athletics, it has also become very clear that there are significant negative consequences with not providing this option to student athletes. Accordingly, this is an exercise in balance – and we are committed to an appropriate balance of both safety AND participation. Our student athletes rely on the leadership and guidance of their coaches and mentors, the structure and discipline inherent in sports, and the camaraderie, joy, and excitement inherent in training and competing with their friends and teammates. For many young people, the void left without sports is filled with anxiety, depression, and despair. While the consequences of not participating may be more difficult to quantify than the risks of COVID 19 infection, we recognize these consequences of NOT participating are real and they are grave. With this in mind, we feel it is crucial to provide some good news and a plan for NCHSAA member schools to resume athletics. Accordingly, and with guidance from the CDC, the NC DHHS, and from our SMAC, we look forward to providing a path to participation in the 2020-2021 academic year.”