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NCHSAA extends dead period for student-athlete workouts

High school student-athletes hoping to start off-season workouts at the first of June will have to wait another two weeks.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Commissioner Que Tucker announced the Board of Directors decided Monday via Zoom meeting to extend the dead period through at least June 15.

Tucker also said the Board of Directors and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) met to finalize plans for Phase 2 of the NCHSAA’s returning to athletics.

“Precautions are being added and revised to be sure we are doing all we can from a health and safety perspective to limit the spread of the virus,” Tucker said. “It is the goal of the NCHSAA to provide these guidelines for a safe return to our member schools in advance to allow LEAs (local education agencies) appropriate amounts of time to implement check-in and check-out procedures for workouts, providing screening for COVID-19 and education to coaches relative to how to maintain appropriate social distancing while providing students an opportunity to resume conditioning and training activities with their teammates.”

Tucker said coaches will need time to set up the new workouts as well as secure sanitary materials and set up sanitary hydration practices.

“It is always our goal to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and communities represented by our schools,” Tucker said.

The commissioner said it will take getting the coronavirus numbers to a point where the Health and Human Services and governor feel they need to be in order for sports to begin.

The NCHSAA does not exist to fund athletic programs, Tucker said, noting schools would take a big financial hit if they do not play football this fall.

“To not play football would be very tough…we’re not at the point where we are folding up the tent on football for this fall, but we are hopeful to have some fans,” Tucker said.

The NCHSAA’s second phase would allow conditioning and drills for sports but no contact like in football.

When asked about the possibility of moving seasons, Tucker said nothing is in the bylaws preventing it, but it would be a last resort and not wise to even talk about it.

Having to cancel spring sports as well as not having the state finals in basketball will mean a downturn of money for the association in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 percent, Tucker said.

If football gets a later start, say Sept. 1, shortening the regular season would be examined with possibly fewer playoff teams.

“Nothing is off the table,” Tucker said.

The commissioner added it will be “critical” for coaches and administration members to mode the right behavior for social distancing since the NCHSAA is education-based athletics.

“We’re teaching… Many of those lessons begin because we in athletics model that,” Tucker said.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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