High schools: It’s officially over for the 2019-20 school year

Published 3:35 am Saturday, April 25, 2020

Staff report

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Friday that public schools in the state would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

The NCHSAA moved quickly after that announcement to officially cancel all spring sports. They’d been hanging by a thread for many weeks.

The basketball state championship games, the traditional final act in the winter sports season, also officially have been canceled. The 16 finalists (eight girls teams, eight boys teams) likely will be declared co-champions for their respective classifications. While that’s the probable scenario, there’s also the possibility that no champions will be declared for 2020. That’s one of the things that will be determined at a meeting next week.

“Today’s decision is difficult for the NCHSAA board and staff,” commissioner Que Tucker said. “We empathize with the thousands of student-athletes, especially graduating seniors, coaching staffs, officials and family members affected by this decision. However, this decision reflects a commitment to keeping our student-athletes, officials and member schools’ staffs and their communities safe, while following the guidelines provided by the Governor and his team, along with the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.”

On Thursday, the State Board of Education announced an easing of some athletic eligibility requirements (such as new physicals) for middle school and high school students during the 2020-2021 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCHSAA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet next week, with more changes to high school sports on the horizon. Policies for summer activities, such as basketball team camps and workouts in a number of sports, will be announced.

No one knows for certain yet, but there’s a chance that the pandemic is going to affect the normal starting date and the length of the season for fall school sports, including football.