Tuesday, 19 May 2020 19:14

NCHSAA dead period to lift June 1, local approval still needed

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FILE PHOTO: Assistant offensive line coach Kevin Alfonso works on drills with players during last spring's workouts. FILE PHOTO: Assistant offensive line coach Kevin Alfonso works on drills with players during last spring's workouts. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

CHAPEL HILL — Multiple media outlets have reported over the last week that the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will lift its ban on the current dead period beginning as early as June 1.

High school athletics across the state have been out of commission since Friday, March 13, due to the coronavirus outbreak. That includes all in-person practices, games, workout sessions and meetings. 

The spring sports season, as well as the 2019-2020 state basketball championships, was canceled throughout the remainder of the school year by the NCHSAA on April 24. All 16 teams that made the boys’ and girls’ basketball title games were declared co-champions.

But the sports world as players, coaches and fans knew it before the global pandemic is perhaps getting one step closer to getting back to normal.

The NCHSAA and commissioner Que Tucker will allow summer workouts to pick up at the start of next month. But it won’t come without the collaboration and approval of other institutions.

In order for summer workouts for sports like football, volleyball, cross country, boys’ soccer, girls’ tennis and girls’ golf to begin, the green light must be given by state and local government officials. Included in that is Richmond County Schools’ central office and Board of Education.

Dr. Jeff Maples, RCS’ superintendent, said the district hasn’t made any definitive decision regarding high school and middle school athletes beginning workouts at the start of June.

“We will continue to follow guidance  and protocols from the Governor's Office and DHHS,” Maples said in a statement. “As always, the health and safety of our students and staff will remain our top priority.”

By this point in the spring, several Richmond Senior High School fall programs would have already begun daily and weekly workouts. Fourth-year coach Bryan Till and the Raider football program are one of several teams that need to meet a required number of days on the practice field ahead of suiting up on Friday nights.

Also in that arena are head volleyball coach Ashleigh Larsen and head soccer coach Chris Larsen. Both coaches not only hold regular summer workouts, but the volleyball and soccer programs host a weekly developmental camp for local athletes that serve as fundraisers.

During regular NCHSAA dead periods, like the two weeks during summer break, coaches are not allowed to conduct workouts with players. However, during the COVID-19 break, the Association has allowed coaches to hold virtual meetings and workouts with their programs.

Till and his coaching staff have regular meetings with all players, including the Football Leadership Council. Other programs, like volleyball, are posting daily workouts on social media for players to do on their own time.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper hopes to move the state forward by lifting his stay-at-home order, issued on May 8, by the end of the week. 

That in turn would put residents and businesses statewide into “Phase Two” of re-opening, and potentially help speed up the process of returning athletes and coaches to their respective playing fields.

The Richmond Observer contacted the NCHSAA for comment, but one was not available at the time of publication. This is a developing story.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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