CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The NCHSAA held a zoom press conference today but no major announcements were made. They did however clear up a lot of confusion when it comes to the start of the fall sports season.
Fall sports are scheduled to start on August 1st, but a lot of that will be left up to Governor Roy Cooper and state health officials. In a nutshell, if the governor feels like student-athletes are safe enough to go to school, then there will be sports. If not, Tucker doesn’t see how the will be able to hit the fields come August and September.
“We believe that education comes first and athletics are an extension of the classroom,” said NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker. “If it is unsafe for our students to be in school, then certainly the idea is that it would be unsafe for our students to be playing in those athletic venues.”
Some football programs have been allowed to start off season conditioning to get prepared for the potential start of the fall season. The state recently sent out a survey to the membership to see exactly how many have started with conditioning. 38 school systems have hit the field thus far and only 4 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported.
In their tracing, those who tested positive did not contract the virus at a workout at the school. They got it from another setting. Some programs started back on June 15th so that’s a great sign that the protocols in place have worked well thus far.
But ultimately, everyone wants to know will the high school football season start on time. At this point, Tucker says nothing is off the table.
“When the governor makes an announcement, we’ll have a better feel whether or not we’re going to start August 1,” said Tucker. “If we get the go ahead and it is October 1, it would be incumbent upon us as a staff to put together something for our schools that those fall sports teams could play even if it’s for a month, a month and a half and no playoffs. Even if it is a month, a month and a half and they end with a conference championship. We have everything on the table.”
The rumor that continues to make the rounds is that fall sports will be flipped to spring and the spring sports moving to fall. Tucker did discuss that today and while on paper it sounds good, enough notice would have to be given to the spring sports teams that their seasons are going to be flipped. We are less than a month away from the fall season right now so that advance notice wouldn’t be much in this case.
Another issue with this notion is everyone would have to agree to do this and with the spring sports just being cancelled this past academic year, would they want to be put in a situation where it could be cancelled again in the same calendar year?
“It’s one thing for football coaches to want to do this, but what do our softball coaches say,” said Tucker. “What do our baseball coaches say? What about those natural spring sports coaches and principals of those member schools? I understand football coaches lobbying, but that’s not what’s going to tip the scales for me.”