By Tim Gardner
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to take its toll –including on North Carolina High School Football and other prep sports
High school football will not be played this fall and other prep sports will have shortened schedules, North Carolina High School Athletics Association Commissioner Que Tucker announced Wednesday, August 12 via video.
The changes became official being voted on by the NCHSAA Board of Directors on Tuesday, August 11. The NCHSAA is the governing body of all public-school prep sports in the state.
“A few weeks ago, I said we will play again,” Tucker said. “It is with that same spirit that we present this calendar. If we want high school sports to return to normal— whatever that looks like– we all have to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“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.”
As via the NCHSS announcement, the high school football regular season will begin on February 26. The season, which has been reduced to seven games, will conclude on April 9.
The first high school football practices are set for February 8.
Cross country and volleyball will begin regular season play on Nov. 16 and will conclude on January 8.
The basketball season will start in December and will run through mid-February. The season will feature 14 games.
Basketball practices can open on December 7. The first regular-season games will be played on January 4 and the season will end on February 19.
Boys soccer will begin in January and end in mid-March. Girls soccer will be played in March and April. Both boys and girls’ teams will have 14 games.
Softball and baseball will both play 14-game seasons. Softball is scheduled to begin its first games on March 15 and baseball can play games as early as April 26.
Track and field and wrestling can both begin competition on April 26 and will conclude on June 11. Track and field is permitted 10 contests and wrestling is allowed 14.
Cheerleading will be able to compete in an invitational on May 1.
There will be no tryouts or practices for any sports until November 4.
The NCHSS announced it has not made any decisions regarding state playoffs. However, the NCHSAA plans on hosting postseason play in some capacity.
Tucker added the following comments about the NCHSAA postponing football and amending schedules of all sports teams: “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 (NCHSAA officials) 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.”