Less than 24 hours after Governor Roy Cooper had announced the state of North Carolina’s plans for reopening public schools in August, the NCHSAA sent out a statement saying that the high school fall sports season will be delayed until at least September 1.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors approved the rule on delaying the season on Wednesday, along with designating the first five days of the 2020-2021 school year as a "dead period" for all sports, to allow school staff to focus primarily on the start of school.
The NCHSAA Board of Directors did vote to allow phase one of summer workouts and conditioning to continue until further notice.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said in the press release that, "For now, we believe these steps provide hope for our student athletes, and the possibility for playing fall sports. We know that many decisions are being made relative to the reopening plan your school(s) will follow. After each LEA has had an opportunity to formalize and finalize those reopening plans, the NCHSAA Staff will survey the membership to determine how sports should and/or can fit into the various models that will exist across the state. Please understand this delayed start date is not "in cement" and can be delayed even further if we do not have improved data from DHHS, or some other reason exists for delaying further into September or beyond.
We acknowledge that playing certain sports are more problematic at any time without a vaccine; however, we remain in consultation with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) members, and they believe we can and should offer a sports program, with all necessary modifications, delays, etc. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with the SMAC as we plan our next steps for the fall, as well as determining when equipment could be shared—i.e. balls— and/or if we can move into Phase 2 of the summer workouts/conditioning.
Each NCHSAA Board Member believes in the value of education-based athletics and is committed to SAFELY offering a fall, winter, and spring sports program during this school year; however, there is also a commitment to the health and safety of students and coaches. Towards this end, we all will continue to follow the guidance of the Department of Health and Human Services relative to the data and how we all safely move forward.
We are in this together, and we will play again!" (end of statement).
The latest announcement by the NCHSAA means no high school football games will be played in the month of August for the first time in recent memory. The last high school game competition took place back on March 15, meaning there will be at least 172 days between events.