NCHSAA suspends spring sports until April

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CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association indefinitely suspended the season-ending basketball championships Thursday, and put spring sports competition on hiatus until April 6.

In a conference call with media members Friday afternoon, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said resumption of the spring season would depend on the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance from the government.

The restart date is “in Jell-O.”

“Yesterday’s events and the decisions that we made were certainly unchartered,” Tucker said. “Our Board of Directors kicked that around pretty much all day yesterday. [It] finally got to the point where we needed to go all in with this.”

Schools were allowed to play contests until 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

Before kickoff against Southside on Thursday afternoon, Spring Creek head girls’ soccer coach Daniel Robinson delivered the shocking news to his team. The players appeared to take everything in stride and proceeded to defeat the Seahawks in mercy-rule fashion.

Freshman Peyton Sullivan said she was worried how it would affect the Gators’ early-season momentum. Off to a 3-0 start, Spring Creek returns the core of last year’s team and hopes to contend for the East Central 2A regular-season crown.

“We decided that since we can’t have an actual practice with coach there, we would make a group chat, discuss it and see what days we’re all free, and we’d come out here to practice and stay in shape,” Sullivan said.

Coaches, administrators and athletic directors clogged up the Association’s phone lines and email boxes with numerous questions about the suspension. The spring calendar is a concern since schools will lose the remainder of their non-conference games and half of their league schedule.

And that’s if play resumes April 7.

Modifications could be made to conference standings, which was the case during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The current playoff format could undergo a facelift, and MaxPreps rankings could be eliminated.

A possible extension of the season could interfere with June graduation.

“It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s not something we’re currently entertaining in a serious way,” said Tucker, who added the Board of Directors and member schools would weigh in on that decision.

Athletic directors from Southern Wayne, Spring Creek and North Duplin are expected to meet with their respective conferences within the next few days.

“We will know more than,” said SW athletic director David lee. “I think it [the suspension] is the right thing to do in light of recent athletic cancellations at multiple levels. I do feel for the players, especially the seniors. Hopefully, we’ll be able to salvage part of the season.

“[We] just have to see how it plays out.”

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