By Tim Gardner
The North Carolina High School Athletics Association announced August 6 that the start of its fall sports season will once again be delayed.
And it remains uncertain when seasons will start for fall sports teams, which include football.
Governor Roy Cooper announced Aug. 5 that North Carolina will stay in Phase 2 of its plan for recovery from the pandemic for another five weeks, pushing the expected end of the phase up to September 11.
According to the NCHSAA’s recovery plan from the COVID-19 pandemic, high schools under its governing umbrella must complete three phases before the start of competition.
The NCHSAA had announced last month that the first official practice date for fall sports, originally set for August 1, had been moved to September 1. With the Phase 2 extension, the date of the first practice has been moved again.
Under Phase 2, there can be no gatherings of 25 or more people.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker commented about Governor Cooper’s decision to extend Phase 2: “Unfortunately this announcement means that the start of sports for the 2020-2021 school year will be delayed beyond September 1 for NCHSAA members schools.”
Tucker didn’t provide a date for the first official practice for fall sports.
“The NCHSAA staff and Board of Directors will review all available options, seek input from our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), Department of Public Instruction (DPI), a sports Ad Hoc Committee, and announce a calendar for playing sports during the upcoming school year,” she said. “It is hoped that we can make this announcement prior to August 17, 2020.
“We want to play sports during the upcoming school year and are making plans to do so; however, the health and safety of all participants, including coaches and other essential staff, will be a priority as decisions and plans are made.”