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Fall sports delayed further

By Andy Rhinehart

The 2020 fall high school sports season will not begin on Sept. 1 as previously planned by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

With North Carolina remaining in Phase Two of its pandemic-response reopening plan for the next five weeks, as announced Wednesday by Governor Roy Cooper, the NCHSAA said Thursday that it isn’t possible for the fall season to open as scheduled.

“At his press conference on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper and his health team extended Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan until at least September 11,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker in a statement. “Unfortunately, this announcement means that the start of sports for the 2020-2021 school year will be delayed beyond September 1 for NCHSAA member schools.

“The NCHSAA Staff and Board of Directors will review all available options, seek input from SMAC, DPI, a sports Ad Hoc Committee, and announce a calendar for playing sports during the upcoming school year. It is hoped that we can make this announcement prior to August 17, 2020.”

NCHSAA schools were allowed Monday to move into the second phase of the organization’s offseason workouts plan, providing for some expanded interaction with small groups of athletes. NCHSAA schools haven’t held any games or full practices since March 13.

“We want to play sports during this upcoming school year and are making plans to do so,” Tucker said. “However, the health and safety of all participants, including coaches and other essential staff, will be a priority as decisions and plans are made.”