Home Local Sports New NCHSAA schedule is best-case scenario for most

New NCHSAA schedule is best-case scenario for most

When the North Carolina High School Athletic Association released its athletic schedule for its sanctioned sports on Aug. 12, I was just as excited as the next sports fan.

We’ve been without high school athletics for just over five months, and the drought has been daunting. But there’s hope for now, so long as the coronavirus numbers go down.

In the two weeks since the unprecedented calendar was announced, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about its impact on the upcoming school year.

And the best way to summarize my thoughts is this — the NCHSAA made a best-case-scenario schedule for its 16 different programs. 

For the most part it’s good, although I don’t agree with some of it.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on high school athletics, but I’ve been around the block a couple of times. And I know how vital youth sports are for players, coaches, families and communities. That’s why I think the schedule put out by the NCHSAA covers most of the bases pretty fairly.

In the latest edition of the RO Sports Show, myself and contributor Deon Cranford break down each sport’s new season timeline. You can watch that by clicking here.

Of course, most eyes went straight to football season being moved to February. While I guarantee it’ll be the coldest opening week in Richmond’s 48-year history, I can only hope at this point that the season is played.

Not that I’m looking at it negatively, but so much changes day to day with the virus, it’s hard to imagine what life will look like six months from now. My fingers are crossed that head coach Bryan Till and his Raiders get their eight-game schedule in.

I do like how volleyball and boys’ and girls’ cross country are slated to begin first. Cross country, aside from the starting line, is a pretty socially-distanced sport (that’s a funny way to describe a sport). I think accommodations can be easily made to stagger runners and it will be a safe outing for everyone.

With volleyball, it’s a bold decision to go indoors early in the sports schedule with the current restrictions in place. Again, a lot can change in the next 70 days, but it gives fans hope that sports will return to a somewhat normal capacity in the meantime. 

All of that will depend on Gov. Roy Cooper and whether or not he moves the state from phase two to phase three. Richmond volleyball has been one of the more intense programs at the high school the past handful of years, and this year’s team promises the same.


Swimming (Nov. 23) and boys’ and girls’ basketball (Dec. 7) will have start dates close to their regular seasons, too. Boys’ soccer (Jan. 11), girls’ golf (March 1)and girls’ tennis (April 12) were all pushed to the late-winter and spring schedules.

The one aspect of the new schedule I’m not a fan of is the baseball, softball and girls’ soccer seasons. These sports, along with boys’ golf, boys’ tennis and track and field, lost nearly their entire season last spring because of the pandemic.

These sports will be played in the spring, but are shortened in length like all the other sports. The NCHSAA is allowing 14-game seasons in baseball, softball and soccer, but I don’t think it’s fair that these student-athletes are being limited two years in a row.

At the end of the day, it’s what’s in the best interest of the student-athletes that matters most. The health concerns obviously take a top priority, but I don’t agree with cutting the spring sports’ seasons short after a season that lasted only a couple of weeks in 2020.

The NCHSAA is being fair in allotting the same amount of time for each sport this school year, but it doesn’t make up for lost time in the spring. Coaches Rob Ransom (baseball), Mike Way (softball) and Chirs Larsen (girls’ soccer) have already lost valuable time with their teams and now will be limited in what they can do this year.

I’m all for equality and fairness in sports, but the idea of so many spring sport athletes across the county and state missing out on playing time doesn’t sit well with me. There’s nothing I can, or the coaches, can say or do to change it, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

Soccer, baseball and softball, along with the other spring sports at Richmond, often generate several future college athletes. For example, rising senior softball players Kearston Bruce (Bridgewater) and Payton Chappell (Methodist) are already verbally committed. 

And there are many more Richmond athletes in all sports leaning on the upcoming season to make college plans. 

Let’s just hope sports actually happen — that will be the first major victory of the 2020-2021 calendar we’re all looking for.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.