After Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday that North Carolina public schools would be closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) canceled all remaining winter championships and spring sports.
“Today’s decision is difficult for the NCHSAA Board of Directors and Staff,” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said in a prepared statement. “We empathize with the thousands of student-athletes, especially graduating seniors, coaching staff, 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.”
The NCHSAA initially suspended athletics March 13, at which time it hoped to resume by April 6. The suspension was extended to May 18 when the state’s public schools were later ordered to remain closed through May 15.
Friday’s decision brings finality.
“Please let your athletes know that we are very sorry that this situation has brought an end to their athletic season,” West Iredell athletic director Mickey Jordan wrote in an email sent to school staff. “To some they will never put on an athletic uniform again. Please let them know that we are thinking about them and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. They will always hold a special place in our hearts here at West Iredell High School.”
The NCHSAA Board of Directors, in its meeting next week, will discuss, among other things, policies for summer activities, as well as address academic eligibility concerns for Fall 2020.
“We had maintained hope for a conclusion to our State Basketball Championships and a modified spring sports season to help return a sense of normalcy to our communities,” Tucker said. “Now, as we continue to deal with this difficult time, we must do so by applying the lessons that education-based athletics teaches us: cooperation, patience, sacrifice, responsibility, perseverance and resilience. Together, we will be able to put a “W” in the win column!”
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