North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker held a press conference on Wednesday to update the state’s media on the status of the upcoming fall sports season.
While there was some speculation that Tucker would be laying out the plan for the fall or releasing some pertinent information, the Commissioner began the press conference by saying, "There is no major announcement forthcoming from the Association (NCHSAA) today."
"And to be clear," Tucker said, "we’ll never make a major announcement to the media prior to it being shared with our 421 member schools."
Tucker went on to explain that the NCHSAA can’t really release any kind of plan for fall sports until a date is set and a plan is in place for when and how the students will be returning to school.
"Governor Cooper has delayed the decision on how the 2020-21 school year will open," said Tucker. "Education comes first. Athletics is an extension of the classroom."
The Commissioner pointed out that she understands that everyone from coaches, athletes, parents and fans is anxiously waiting for a date that the fall sports seasons, most notably football, will be able to begin.
"We have heard everyone wants to play," Tucker said, "but until we know ‘the plan’ for how schools will reopen, we will continue to work behind the scenes with those groups, the Board of Directors, with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, to determine the best path forward for the numerous circumstances and challenges that will continue to face our state in the coming months."
Tucker noted that the Association has staff plans, plans from coaches and even plans from other state associations that are all possibilities, but there is no need to discuss any of those proposals until the plans for starting school are released.
"We will seek input from the membership schools as to what plans may be in the best interest of the schools," Tucker said. "And then an announcement would be made."
"We want our students back in the classroom," the Commissioner pointed out, "Which then means they can be on the field and on the court."
Tucker made it clear that the NCHSAA wants high school sports to take place in the fall and will continue to work to make it happen.
"We are doing everything in our power to make that a reality, said Tucker, "and to offer as much of a season as is safe and feasible for each of our sports and our teams. But, as each one of us must do, we must allow the governor to govern, we must allow the Department of Health and Human Services and all of those advisors and the local school officials across the state the opportunity to make the necessary decisions that they believe are in the best interest of the safety of our students, as well as our state’s educators."
Following her statement and update, Tucker took some questions from the media, including one that asked about flipping seasons, such as moving football to spring and baseball to fall. The Commissioner said there are no plans as of now to flip seasons, and that the current workouts that are taking place in North Carolina are for fall sports only.
The question was also asked about a survey that was sent out to local school systems across the state as to who was participating in workouts and who was not. Tucker said that of the 162 surveys that were emailed out, 72 were returned. Of those returned surveys, 53 percent of the school systems are currently participating in workouts, and 36 more percent have a date set to begin.
When asked about the chances of fall sports beginning on time, the Commissioner answered, "If the governor makes an announcement next week, then we’ll have a better feel if we’re going to start August 1."