The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the amended calendar for the 2020-21 year on Wednesday.
The proposed dates of competition are based on conditions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic improving in the state.
Bertie County, Camden County, Cape Hatteras, Columbia, Currituck County, Edenton’s John A. Holmes, First Flight, Gates County, Hertford County, Manteo, Mattamuskeet, Northeastern, Ocracoke, Pasquotank County, Perquimans County and Washington County high schools are some of the 400-plus members of the NCHSAA.
The sports calendar will begin at the earliest Nov. 4 with cross country and volleyball practices.
The first contests for those sports will be Nov. 16 and the final day of regular-season competition is Jan. 8, 2021.
Cross country may have 10 contests, while volleyball will have up to 14 contests.
Swimming and diving will begin on Nov. 23 with contests beginning on Dec. 7. The season is set to conclude on Jan. 30, 2021.
Swimming will have up to 10 contests.
Basketball may begin to practice on Dec. 7 with the first game allowed to take place Jan. 4, 2021 and the regular season ending on Feb. 19.
Basketball will be allowed to play 14 games.
Men’s soccer and lacrosse are set to begin practice Jan. 11, 2021 with the first match set for Jan. 25.
The season will end March 12.
Men’s soccer and lacrosse will be allowed to play 14 regular-season games.
Football will be allowed to begin practice Feb. 8, 2021 with the first game set for Feb. 26.
The final regular-season game will be allowed to take place April 9.
A total of seven football games may be played during the regular season.
Men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, and men’s tennis are all scheduled to begin practice March 1, 2021.
Those sports will be allowed to begin their regular season on March 15 and the final day of regular-season games is set for April 30.
Golf, women’s soccer, softball and men’s tennis will be allowed to play 14 games.
Baseball, women’s tennis, outdoor track and field and wrestling will be allowed to begin practice on April 12, 2021.
First contests are set for April 26 and the final day of regular-season contests is set for June 11.
Baseball, women’s tennis and wrestling will be allowed 14 contests, while track and field is allowed up to 10 regular-season contests.
Football is limited to one contest per week, while all other sports are limited to two contests per week.
The association’s annual cheerleading championships will be held May 1.
The NCHSAA noted that indoor track and field will not be contested during the 2020-21 athletic year.
Camden County High School softball coach Charles Nash said Wednesday that he is OK with the revised schedule for softball.
The coach noted that any games played are better than no games.
Softball was one of several traditional spring sports that was not able to complete its 2020 season because of the pandemic.
Camden had a 2-1 overall record before its season was halted because of the virus on March 13.
The Bruins entered the 2020 season as the defending 2019 NCHSAA 1A East Regional champion and returned the majority of the 2019 team that advanced to the state championship series.
Camden was unable to make another run at a state championship in 2020 as the NCHSAA suspended spring sports on March 13 then canceled spring sports on April 24.
Nash was disappointed softball and other spring sports did not have the opportunity to finish the 2020 season, but will take the 2021 schedule.
Traditional fall sports include men’s and women’s cross country, men’s soccer, football, volleyball, women’s tennis and women’s golf.
Traditional winter sports include wrestling, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s indoor track and field.
Traditional spring sports include softball, baseball, men’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s golf, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s lacrosse.
NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker released a statement Wednesday on the revised calendar:
“You all have been waiting patiently for a decision from the NCHSAA relative to an amended sport calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please keep in mind that these proposed dates are dependent on COVID-19 conditions improving across N.C. However, last night the Board of Directors approved a framework we believe maximizes the opportunities for students in our membership to participate in athletics at some point during this school year, regardless of what plan a school and/or school system operates.
The NCHSAA Board approved an amended calendar for the 2020-2021 school year in a special called meeting for this purpose on Tuesday, August 11 via Zoom. This calendar represents the hard work of the NCHSAA Staff, Board of Directors and various committees such as the City/County Athletic Directors, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Sports Ad Hoc Committee. There is still much work to be done on the details of implementing athletic programs and contests during this pandemic, but we thank these committees and individuals for their hard work to bring us to this point.
We recognize that this is a lot of information to digest and drastically different from the way the sport calendar has been aligned for years in North Carolina. However, as we mentioned many weeks ago, “We will play again.” In that mantra we believe, and it is in that spirit that we present this calendar. It is the belief of the Board of Directors and our staff that this calendar provides us the greatest chance of providing interscholastic athletic opportunities to the students of the NCHSAA for the 2020-2021 academic year. We believe that this is the best path forward to a safe return to the field.
Our decision-making process has been careful and calculated, as we work to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches and administrators during this unprecedented time. There is still much work to be done in regard to playoff formats, COVID-19 related rules modifications for numerous sports, securing potential playoff facilities and providing the safest possible regular season opportunities for student athletes. We are committed to that work and will continue to lead and govern interscholastic athletic programs across this state that support and enrich the educational experience provided by our member schools in such a manner to maintain the standards of excellence that the NCHSAA has become known for.”
Dr. Josh Bloom, a member of the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), released a statement on behalf of the committee:
“We feel it is critically important to provide opportunities for North Carolina student athletes to participate, and compete, in education-based athletics. While there are risks with resuming NCHSAA sanctioned athletics, it has also become very clear that there are significant negative consequences with not providing this option to student athletes. Accordingly, this is an exercise in balance — and we are committed to an appropriate balance of both safety AND participation.
Our student athletes rely on the leadership and guidance of their coaches and mentors, the structure and discipline inherent in sports, and the camaraderie, joy, and excitement inherent in training and competing with their friends and teammates. For many young people, the void left without sports is filled with anxiety, depression, and despair. While the consequences of not participating may be more difficult to quantify than the risks of COVID 19 infection, we recognize these consequences of NOT participating are real and they are grave. With this in mind, we feel it is crucial to provide some good news and a plan for NCHSAA member schools to resume athletics. Accordingly, and with guidance from the CDC, the NC DHHS, and from our SMAC, we look forward to providing a path to participation in the 2020-2021 academic year.”