NCHSAA suspends athletics over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns

The North Carolina High School Athletics Association issued a statement Thursday suspending all athletics starting this Saturday.

Stanly County Schools superintendent Dr. Jeff James said SCS, as many of the state’s agencies are, monitoring the ongoing situation around COVID 19.

“Seeing the NCHSAA has weighed in, we will continue to take precautions to limit large crowd activities. We appreciate the daily information from our community stakeholders as it hopefully helps us be in a collective effort across our county to ensure public safety,” James said via text Thursday.

The NCHSAA suspended all games scheduled after 11:59 p.m. Friday evening until at least April 6, including “all workouts, skill development, practices and contests,” according to the statement emailed to The Stanly News & Press.

“As much as we would like this opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches, and their communities, we know that ultimately any decision we make must err on the side of caution,” Commissioner Que Tucker said in the statement.

Initially, the NCHSAA postponed the men’s and women’s basketball state championships indefinitely but updated it later in the day to conduct the games “with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.

“This decision is not one we make lightly,” said Commissioner Que Tucker in the updated statement.

“We recognize that participating in a state championship game is often a once in a lifetime experience for our student-athletes, coaches their families and many in the community. However, the NCHSAA must do its part in providing leadership necessary to keep our students, communities and state as safe as possible from the rising threat of COVID-19.”

The statement went on to say the games “will be contested with essential team personnel and a limited number of family members in attendance. No tickets will be sold at the door. Concessions will not be available for the limited attendees. Media will not be permitted to attend.”

Broadcasts of the game through the Sinclair Broadcasting Group statewide TV network and the NFHS Network online will still take place.