With tryouts Wednesday, NCHSAA 2020-21 athletic year officially underway

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/4/20

And so the regular season begins.

Wednesday marked the first day of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 2020-21 sports calendar, as member schools across the state began …

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With tryouts Wednesday, NCHSAA 2020-21 athletic year officially underway

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And so the regular season begins.

Wednesday marked the first day of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 2020-21 sports calendar, as member schools across the state began official tryouts for their volleyball and cross country teams 12 days ahead of the first scheduled competitions on Nov. 16.

In Chatham County, the Northwood Chargers, Jordan-Matthews Jets, Chatham Central Bears and Woods Charter Wolves all kicked off workouts Wednesday afternoon.

The Chatham Charter Knights remain in an athletics dead period until at least Nov. 12, after officials learned of a positive coronavirus late last month and pivoted to remote learning.

Although they’re not actual games, Wednesday’s tryouts also mark the first official athletic activities for NCHSAA member schools since the association suspended spring sports on March 13 — 236 days or almost eight months ago. (Summer/offseason “skill sessions” had been going on since mid-June.)

On Monday, two days before tryouts began, the NCHSAA also loosened a few guidelines in its “modified sports manual,” a Google Doc that’ll be continuously updated with information this season. Monday marked the first changes to the document, which was initially released in mid-October.

Notably, there are no capacity limits. Although spectators are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people or 30% of stated fire capacity outdoors (whichever is less), the NCHSAA confirmed “players, coaches, workers, entertainers and support staff do not count toward the capacity limits” in either setting when it comes to “in-season tryouts and practices.”

From a functionality standpoint, that means a team could host tryouts with its entire roster present in the same place on the same day, rather than splitting up tryouts for different “pods” of athletes.

At those tryouts, which can also function as practices, the NCHSAA recommended schools utilize pods, small-group work and drills that allow for “cloth face coverings and social distancing.” But all three of those points are only “considerations” — not requirements.

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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