Mint Hill, NC – We reached out to the Athletic Directors at Independence and Rocky River High Schools for feedback on fall sports, athletes, and scholarships.
Meanwhile, the NCHSAA Board of Directors issued their Phase Two guidance to member schools regarding summer conditioning and workout activities. These guidelines become effective on August 3, 2020.
The key points in the Phase Two guidelines are the following highlights:
- Sharing equipment is permissible within small groups/pods.
- Wearing protective equipment remains prohibited.
- Equipment must be disinfected frequently and prior to use by another pod.
- LAT’s/First Responders are not REQUIRED; however, as noted in the Points of Emphasis, they should always be included when possible.
Coaches are encouraged to ensure a gradual return to activities. They should have consideration for the condition of individual athletes who return for workouts and conditioning. Also, coaches are encouraged to “teach” the daily monitoring protocol to incorporate ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Athletic Directors are closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis but are reluctant to comment. “I do not wish to make any comments on any of the questions at the moment,” said Elijah Ashley, Athletic Director at Independence High School. “The district and state leaders are working to provide us with the answers and the best possible solutions for our students.”
It seems the NCHSAA will have to implement a statewide strategic plan to fit districts and schools of various sizes and resources moving forward. “I think the biggest challenge is the fact that there will be [so much] flexibility given to the individual school systems, and think it will pose equity issues,” NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker stated in a television interview.
Therefore, it’s up to local school districts on how to handle summer workouts for fall sports. Some districts have chosen to delay while others have started their summer workouts by following the guidelines provided by the NCHSAA in Phase One. Summer programs in districts that have elected to start them have gone well to date. There have been four cases of the virus reported, but those cases have not been attributed or linked to the summer workout sessions statewide.
Regarding student-athletes who are seeking college scholarship opportunities, it really all depends upon first getting students back into school. Athletics and in particular, fall sports, could be impacted.
The top highly recruited athletes are already in the sights of college coaches; however, it’s those student-athletes who are on the bubble or are Division II prospects who will probably feel the greatest impact if they cannot compete in the fall to get the exposure they need to earn an athletic scholarship at the next level of competition.
It certainly appears the goal is to have fall sports activities and competition this autumn. However, what the final format and outcome will be is still not fully known as NCHSAA leadership continues to monitor this situation and their options.