MINT HILL, NC – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 11:00 am. The meeting was organized to address the one burning question on all high school sports’ enthusiasts minds: will there be sports in the fall?
Tucker opened the video conference call by stating there would be no major announcement today. She fully understands that everyone is waiting for a decision about what the destiny of fall sports will be this upcoming school year.
“At this time, we simply do not know,” Tucker said, “but we promise that we will do the best we can to offer students the opportunity to get on the field and play the games they enjoy and love. Our staff is working to craft new and innovative ways to accommodate schedule changes, to make tweaks that may be necessary to offer competitive opportunities during this current climate.”
Unless students can return to in-person learning safely, she added, it’s unlikely sports can resume. Fall sports are scheduled to start full practice on August 1, but the NCHSAA will have a better idea if this can be accomplished after the Governor makes an official announcement with regards to schools.
The Governor has three options on the table for public schools. Plan A means students will be back to school as normal; however, Plans B and C require schools to make adjustments and seek an attractive workable alternative.
As the NCHSAA reviews its options, one, in particular, that is getting traction on social media is flipping the fall and spring sports seasons. The Commissioner did mention the football coaches are not lobbying for a spring season. “It’s one thing for football coaches to say it,” Tucker said, “but what about the baseball coaches and softball coaches?”
Another option is a modified season, meaning teams will play fewer games and might not compete in the traditional playoff format. However, with a target date of August 17 for schools to open, the association has an understanding with the NCDHHS that they can proceed with higher risk sports such as football and soccer. The key will be the health and safety guidelines provided by state health officials as they pertain to schools, which have a direct impact on competitive athletic activity.
The bottom line is there is still a lot of uncertainty about fall sports, but there are plans in place with some reasonable options available for the NCHSAA to achieve its mission. A great deal depends upon the unknown, and only time will allow us to see what direction is taken as we move forward during these challenging times.