The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced the suspension of all interscholastic athletics, including practices, skill development sessions, and contests, through at least April 6, in efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. NCHSAA board members have moved to postpone basketball state championships, with hopes of making up the games in the future as the situation is monitored and reassessed.
NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker described the situation as uncharted territory for the association. The decision to postpone championships, she said, was not one that was made lightly. She said that the decision was made only after the association had exhausted all other options, in light of the gravity and uncertainty of the situation. The decision to suspend athletics will bring seasons to a hold for baseball, lacrosse, golf, tennis, softball, track and soccer.
Association members will be evaluating the progression of COVID-19 regularly, and updating member schools accordingly, stating that the April 6 return date is extremely fluid. Commissioner Tucker said that the association will continue to listen to what is being said by Gov. Roy Cooper, and what is being said about the country, as they make future decisions regarding the return to athletics.
Commissioner Tucker said that the goal of the NCHSAA is always to educate student-athletes, and minimize the risk of injury or accident involved with participation in athletics. This process, she said, is always a delicate balancing act, particularly so, she said, regarding unknown territory like the current situation. The decision to suspend athletics, she said, was not an easy one to make, but it had to be done. “It is our belief,” commissioner Tucker said, “that the decision was made in the best interests of all student-athletes, coaches, and schools across our state. We hope that we are able to return to athletic competition.”
“There is nothing more that we want for our student-athletes than for them to be able to safely complete and finish their seasons in a healthy and safe manner,” Commissioner Tucker said. “However, we recognize that difficult decisions must be made by those in leadership positions to best help not only our state but our nation and our world, as we try to contain the threat posed by COVID-19. And we, as leaders in interscholastic athletics, at the high school level, in North Carolina, must do our part.”
While athletes and parents are disheartened by the possibility of missing out on senior seasons, the sentiment is shared that the health and safety of the athletes, and the community, comes first. With many in the community optimistic about the possibility of a return in early April, others estimate an even longer wait. The NCHSAA will provide updates as the situation progresses, and as the April 6 target return date approaches.