In response to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's announcement on Tuesday, July 14 regarding schools reopening for the 2020-21 academic year, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced in a press release on Wednesday, July 15 that the start of high school fall sports will be delayed until at least Sept. 1.
The first five student days of the 2020-21 school year will be designated as a "dead period" for all sports, allowing school staff to focus on the start of school.
NCHSAA Phase 1 of the summer conditioning and workouts will continue until further notice.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said the delayed start date is not "in cement" and can be delayed more if state numbers do not improve.
"Each NCHSAA board member believes in the value of education-based athletics and is committed to safely offering a fall, winter and spring sports program during this school year," Tucker said. "However, there is also a commitment to the health and safety of students and coaches. Toward this end, we all will continue to follow the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services relative to the data and how we all safely move forward."
Tucker added that the NCHSAA is continually in contact with the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and will continue to work with them as they plan the next steps for the fall season and determine which equipment (such as balls) can be shared.
The partnership between the NCHSAA and SMA, along with guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services, will also allow the NCHSAA to decide when to move into Phase 2 of summer workouts and conditioning.
“For now, we believe these steps provide hope for our student athletes and the possibility for playing fall sports,” Tucker said. “The NCHSAA staff will survey the membership to determine how sports should and/or can fit into the various models that will exist across the state.”