The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced last week that fall sports would be delayed until “at least” Sept. 1. The association also made the decision to keep teams in Phase 1 which allows for workouts with several limitations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“For now, we believe these steps provide hope for our student athletes and the possibility for playing fall sports,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. “Please understand this delayed start date is not ‘in cement’ and can be delayed even further if we do not have improved data from DHHS or some other reason exists for delaying further into September or beyond.
Commissioner Tucker concluded with, “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; however, there is also a commitment to the health and safety of students and coaches. Towards this end, we all will continue to follow the guidance of the Department of Health and Human Services relative to the data and how we all safely move forward.”
When asked how the Phase 1 restrictions are affecting her team, Hayesville High School volleyball coach Tammy Dills said, “The main restriction that I have found is just not being able to all be in the gym training. Our summer time is where we not only train, but we bond as a team.”
Dills says the restrictions have not affected her team’s conditioning, but has affected other areas. “I feel we are behind not so much being in shape because they are working hard, but on the game situation part. By now we would have already been to several day camps and played numerous scrimmages.”
The head coach said the latest announcement from the NCHSAA will change her approach somewhat. “We will continue to do workouts but cut the days back to three instead of five. When you repetitively continue something it gets old and I want my players to continue to want to come to open gym, not dread it.” Things could change if/when the association lift restrictions. “If they allow us to play among ourselves and combine our sessions, then I will go back to more days,” said Dills.
In a time where recommendations can change daily, it is safe to say that high school sports are far from a certainty.