NCHSAA Announces Schedule Changes, Condensed Swimming Season

clair curzan
Claire Curzan at the 2020 NCHSAA Championships Photo Courtesy: NCHSAA Twitter (@NCHSAA)

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Wednesday revealed its plan for a condensed 2020-21 athletic calendar in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving football to the spring and condenses the seasons for other sports.

All contest dates are suspended through the rest of August, September and October, though practices can continue conditionally. Cross country and volleyball are the first sports to resume on Nov. 4, with first contest dates Nov. 16.

NCHSAA swimming and diving, normally a winter sport, remains more or less on schedule. The first practice date is Nov. 23 with the first contests Dec. 7. The last contest will be Jan. 30. Teams are limited to 10 meets during the season and two meets per week.

That constitutes a slight change from last year. In 2019-20, the season started Oct. 30 with the first meets Nov. 18 (so a week of preseason is lopped off). Regional championships were Jan. 31-Feb. 1 with states the following week.

Among the many athletes affected is national age-group record holder Claire Curzan, a junior at Cardinal Gibbons High in Raleigh.

The NCHSAA followed the mantra of “we will play again,” in crafting the schedule. NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker cited that as part of the announcement. From a statement:

“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.”

The headline change is football. Practice on the gridiron will start Feb. 8, with the season to run from Feb. 26 to April 9.

“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,” said Dr. Josh Bloom, member of the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. “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.”

1 comment

  1. Linda Shuck

    Thank goodness my nephew goes to private school in NC..

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