With so many questions surrounding the high school spring sports season, South Fork 2A conference administrator Butch Parker recently shed some light on the subject.
Parker gave an update Saturday morning on SportsTalk, after having conversations throughout last week with Tra Waters of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and a virtual meeting with the league’s athletic directors.
“Nothing that I say today is definitive,” Parker said, “it will be affected by so many variables. But there’s a little glimmer of hope for us.”
The South Fork 2A Conference, like all other conferences, has hopes and intentions based on the tentative return date of May 18 that was set last week by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
“We’re going to try and be ready,” said Parker.
The NCHSAA has hopes of letting the spring sports athletes compete at a minimum of a couple more times in an environment that would be safe, according to Parker.
“We have to be very cautious about what we plan,” Parker said. “But we here in the South Fork want to be ready, if and when it’s allowed, with what we can get in.”
“All of our guys (conference ADs) are on board with it,” said Parker. “In fact, some have already sent me proposals about what we might can do, and how we can do it.”
Parker talked about the possibility of including all spring sports, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, tennis and golf, in some form of South Fork 2A Conference play once the ban is lifted, even if there are no state playoffs.
Parker spoke with Waters about that possibility, and was told that the option would definitely be discussed, and that Parker was not the first to ask that question.
Parker also noted that baseball, softball and soccer would require more time to determine a champion than some of the other sports that are more individualized. He said that a double-elimination tournament was discussed for both baseball and softball.
Postseason awards, such as all-conference, have not yet been discussed according to Parker. That discussion would come if and when play would resume.
Parker said that he also talked with Waters about the basketball state championship games that were postponed indefinitely, since SF2A member Newton-Conover is slated to participate in the 2A girls title game. He was told that there is still hope at this time that the games will be played.
When asked if there would be a mandatory practice or practices before games could resume if the “return to play” date came to fruition, Parker said he would expect that there would be some form of practice or at least team meetings prior to competition. “I think you would have to allow those coaches to have some time with their kids (first),” Parker said.
Parker, along with the South Fork 2A Conference’s athletic directors, will continue to brainstorm and plan as long as there is hope that play can resume.
“We are working on it, and we’ve got those kids in mind,” said Parker. “We want to let them know that we’ve got it in our hearts and minds to do something for them. Instead of saying congratulations, you had a nice high school career, but it’s over.”
Parker ended the conversation by saying that East Lincoln athletic director Chris Matile left the virtual meeting by saying ‘These boys want to play. They just want to play.’
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