ROCKINGHAM — When high school athletics return, things are going to look a little different, even from the administrative side.
The current dead period in Richmond County just passed the 110-day mark, as fields, locker rooms and practice facilities remain barren and await a decision by local school officials.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper was expected to make an announcement Wednesday regarding his plan of action for schools to resume this fall, whether it be in the classroom or online, but he canceled the news conference late Tuesday.
The coronavirus crisis continues to keep local student-athletes and coaches off the field and apart from one another, and Richmond County Schools is expected to make another decision as to whether pre-season workouts for fall sports will pick up on July 6.
Two prior decisions have already been made by a local panel made up of RCS and Richmond County Health Department officials to keep workouts off the table.
In the meantime, new paperwork regulations have been put in place in order for athletes of all sports to complete. RCS athletes will need to use AthleticClearance.com, an online resource being used in North Carolina, Florida and California.
Richmond athletic director Rob Ransom posted on Twitter that “any athlete interested in playing sports at RSHS during the 2020-2021 school year must complete the paperwork” via the new website.
He added that “all paperwork must be completed before a student can try out.” Aside from football, all five of Richmond’s other fall athletic teams (volleyball, boys’ soccer, girls’ golf, girls’ tennis and co-ed cross country) follow some sort of tryout process.
During a regular summer workout period, the first week of July is designated as a dead period by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. The new paperwork guidelines are an electronic upgrade from RCS’ old system, which had students submit hard copies of their physicals, concussion forms and athletic packets.
In order to get started, a parent or guardian must go to the website, choose “North Carolina” and create an account with a valid email and password. From there, athletes can update their profile by selecting “start clearance here.”
The registration process will ask for student information, parent and guardian information, the athlete’s medical history and a variety of signature forms. Participants will also get the opportunity to upload any medical history files if applicable.
Once all of the information is submitted, athletes will get a confirmation email that the paperwork has been received. Student-athletes will also have the option to select multiple sports if they play more than one sport throughout the year.
The final step of the clearance process will fall on Richmond’s athletic department to go in and review and verify a student-athlete’s eligibility.
Any questions regarding the sign-up process can be directed at Ransom at the high school or the student-athlete’s head coach. Visit AthleticClearance.com to register today for the 2020-2021 school year.