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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

NC High School Sports Delayed -- Many Until 2021

Alexander Shimmeck
High school football practices can't begin until Feb. 8, 2021, according to a calendar released Wednesday by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Many high school fall sports in North Carolina will not start until early 2021. 

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association on Wednesday announced its approved calendar for the 2020-2021 sports season. Commissioner Que Tucker said the start dates hinge on COVID-19 conditions improving. Tucker said the association is committed to high school athletes playing this year.

"We want to ensure that students have the opportunity to gain the benefits from participation in education-based athletics, while mitigating the risks associated with that participation," Tucker said

The schedule shows cross-country and volleyball will start first, with practices beginning Nov. 4, followed by swimming and diving on Nov. 23 and basketball on Dec. 7.

High school football practices can’t begin until Feb. 8, 2021, with first games beginning on Feb. 26.

The schedule also lists when regular seasons for each sport will end, how many games can be held and how many games can happen in a week. The indoor track season has also been canceled due to difficulties in holding meets while following health guidelines. Tucker said outdoor track and field still provided an opportunity for athletes.

"We cannot change the reality of COVID-19 and the threat that it poses, not only for the NCHSSA membership, but for our state," Tucker said. "But we can change the way we think about everything we are experiencing."

Athletes can still move into skill development five days after they begin classes this fall, following Phase 2 health guidelines released by the NCHSAA in July. The association previously had a start date of Sept. 1 for fall sports but pushed back the date following Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision on Aug. 5 to pause further reopening. North Carolina will stay in Phase 2 until at least Sept. 11

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released this calendar for 2020-2021 sports during the coronavirus pandemic.

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