• 27°

Local high school sports are suspended until at least April 6

By Dennis Davidson

dennis.davidson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — In addition to professional and collegiate athletics, concerns about the spread of the coronavirus has also impacted the local sports scene.

On Thursday afternoon, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association suspended all athletic events, effective late Friday night and running through April 6. The suspension of athletics includes workouts, practices and games. The NCHSAA says its board of directors “will assess this situation regularly over the next few weeks.”

In a statement, NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker said, “Any decision we make must err on the side of caution.”

There is worse news for local colleges, Catawba and Livingstone. The NCAA issued a statement on Thursday, canceling the remaining winter championships and all spring championships for NCAA Divisions I, II and III.

Rick Vanhoy, Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ athletic director, said any games scheduled for Friday will be allowed. At midnight Saturday, the suspension begins. It will go for the next three weeks.

“This is for all Rowan County high schools and middle schools,” Vanhoy said, late Thursday. “No practice, no skill development, nothing. … In all honesty, we’ve been waiting for guidance from the state. The state is just falling in line with with everyone else, like the ACC and NCAA. We’re dealing with something that most of us have never had to deal with.”

Vanhoy, himself a former athlete at East Rowan High School and the University of North Carolina, acknowledges that some fans could question the NCHSAA’s decision.

“It may seem to some like an overreaction, but if a month from now, if things have settled down and we’re all ok, so to speak, I don’t think anyone is going to believe it was an overreaction at that point,” he said. “If we kept on playing and getting crowds together and it continues to spread, then you’re asking different questions. I think (the NCHSAA) made the right decision.”

Prior to the state’s ruling, Vanhoy said that there had been discussions among the six county ADs about playing games without spectators. That scenario was not ideal either.

“The county ADs expressed to me that playing games without fans would have actually been a bigger financial burden on the schools than simply not playing at all,” he said. “Having to pay officials and travel expenses with no admissions coming in would have been a huge burden on our schools. Obviously, any money schools can make athletically is a plus, but this way there will be no expenses without revenues to support them.”

Now, the county schools’ athletes have some time off.

Vanhoy said he feels for the students.

“It’s tough,” said Vanhoy. “Athletics are a big part of all of our schools. It gives a lot of kids the opportunity to be a part of something. And our spring sports were just getting underway.

“You hate it for the kids, because they work all year and now the season is here. And we don’t know if we’ll get to resume at all and that would be bad, especially for the seniors, because they’re not coming back next year. But we don’t know what a month will do.”

One of those seniors, Carson’s Taylor Conrad, who has played year-round in cross country, basketball and soccer, tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “What am I supposed to do without practice or games? I’ve never just went home after school with no sports.”

The shutdown is reminiscent of Rowan County’s measles outbreak quarantine in 1988-89. The health department limited gatherings in the county from late-December through mid-March, basically canceling basketball and wrestling seasons — at both the college and high school levels. The quarantine was eventually lifted in time for spring sports.

The Associated Press contributed to the article.

Comments

China Grove

Growing greens: Main Street Marketplace hopes hydroponic garden will help organization grow

Education

State Board of Education delays decisions on Faith Academy, East Spencer charter school

Local

Financial update shows city ‘faring OK’; council allocates first donations from Share 2 Care program

Education

Education briefs: Smart Start Rowan to host drive thru Twelve Days of Christmas Celebration

Education

Salisbury High School will debut its production of “The Nutcracker” virtually

Local

NC Dolls, Toys and Miniatures Museum gets recognition in Our State magazine

China Grove

Santa Claus to visit China Grove on firetruck on two separate weekends

Education

RCCC awarded $1.3 million federal grant

Crime

Family mourns, asks community to turn on porch lights for anniversary of A’yanna Allen’s death

Christmas Happiness

Couple give to Christmas Happiness to honor siblings

China Grove

China Grove Town Council names representatives to Metropolitan Planning Organization

Crime

Police: Salisbury woman charged after officers witness drug transaction

Coronavirus

County reports 69 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Crime

Salisbury woman charged in fatal hit-and-run accident

Local

Charity provides vests for K-9s

Local

Rowan’s Sen. Ford ‘honored’ to be chosen as joint caucus leader

Local

City council approves six road repaving projects, encourages input on development priorities

Business

State names Rowan among most economically distressed counties

High School

High school volleyball: South Rowan wins another CCC match

Education

Catawba College’s Service of Lessons and Carols moves virtual

Local

Spencer’s Park Plaza financing gets OK from state’s Local Government Commission

Education

Kannapolis City Schools to hold public hearing on construction equity policy

Local

Drivers identified in I-85 double vehicle crash, fire

Local

Driver cited in two-vehicle Mooresville Road collision