NCHSAA extends sports “dead period” to June 15
Jun 02, 2020 03:45PM
By Jan Sailors
The 2018 CHS Ironmen football squad runs out onto the field at Rudisill Stadium, bursting through the banner provided by the CHS cheerleaders. The American flag is carried proudly as the men make their appearance. (Eagle file photo by Michael E. Powell)
In a May 22, media release, NCHSAA Deputy Commissioner James Alverson noted the group has “been in communication with the (N.C.) Department of Health and Human Services concerning next steps for a return to athletic activities across the state.
At that time, Alverson noted, “Since we have not yet had an opportunity (then) to discuss the guidelines” mentioned by Governor Roy and Dr. Beverly Cohen with what he termed, “a broader audience in our membership,” he said the group would “spend the next several days discussing options, opportunities and best practices for resuming activity with our board of directors and sports medicine advisory committee, in addition to other stakeholder groups such as principals, athletic director, coaches groups, etc.
“These conversations will help us determine a more specific and detailed path forward.”
Alverson continued in the release, “To provide better information to the media relative to NCHSAA plans moving towards athletic activity resumption,” NCHSAA scheduled a Zoom press briefing session for Tuesday, May 26, at 4 p.m.
Access by various media persons was sent out via email and last Tuesday NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker was available and made a statement regarding the future of high school and collegiate sports in North Carolina, and to answer questions and provide an update on NCHSAA plans based on the DHHS recommended guidelines.
Essentially, and according to Commissioner Tucker, all state sports activities are on hold and in what she termed “a dead period” (because of the pandemic), which was extended to June 15. In the video meeting she noted the NCHSAA was working with the board to finalize plans for the coming weeks. Certain criteria and guidelines have been set forth, she noted, by the state’s DHHS to outline proper safety measures that would possibly help the state return the schools’ athletic activities to resume. She pointed out, however, that contact sports such as football, basketball and wrestling, for example, in which close contact with one another is frequent, would still be recommended to sticking to a training regimen that does not require bodily contact, and for the coaches and teams to practice “adequate social distancing” as well as proper cleaning and sanitizing.
Tucker noted in the video conference that they are hoping to be able to get to what she called “Phase Two” (Phase One is the initial “dead period” talked about earlier), then the NCHSAA board is hoping for returning to some type of the aforementioned training, utilizing the safest possible methods, procedures and formats.
Tucker said obvious ways for stadiums to be full come fall would be for a coronavirus vaccine to be found, and/or get the state’s COVID-19 numbers down to where government officials feel they would be acceptable, in order for athletics to begin in August.
“Our conditions must continue to improve,” she said, via Zoom, adding, “Our goal is to do all in our power to protect our athletes, coaches, and our communities.”
Tucker said she was aware of what she called “the hit” the state’s schools and athletic associations and conferences would take from no football come fall would be “substantial.”
“We are not at the point where we’re folding up the tent on football just yet,” she added.
Commissioner Tucker and the board continue to be in meetings with the state’s many athletic directors at this stage in the game, getting information and ideas from them on what they need and what will work for them.