Regular season in fall of 2021 will be limited to 10 games
By CHRIS HOBBS
CHAPEL HILL – After the 2020 high school football season produces eight North Carolina champions, the state is going back to four – one in each classification.
That decision was one of the highlights, by a 19-0 vote, as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Board of Directors completed its winter meetings on Thursday.
Subdivided championships will continue at the end of this football season — which begins in February because of a delay by the COVID-19 pandemic – and then convert back to one champion in each of four classifications in 2021.
A new statewide realignment, using a revamped system with additional information beyond just average daily membership (ADMs), will be in place when that realignment begins in August of 2021.
The board also decided football teams will no longer play 11-game schedules, reverting back to a 10-game schedule (an endowment game can be among those). The first games of 2021 can’t be played more than two days in advance of the final Friday in August of that year, the board stipulated.
The NCHSAA went to subdivided football playoffs in 2002, crowning champions in 1A, 1AA, 2A, 2AA, 3A, 3AA, 4A and 4AA after having done so in Class 1A only in 2001.
All told, there will have been 19 years of having eight state football champions.
In other highlights voted upon by the board:
— Approved sending $4 million from the NCHSAA Endowment Fund as a one-time subsidy for schools offering athletic programs during the 2020-2021 academic year (Subcommittee to be formed to determine distribution formula/method).
— Adopted creation of a 60-second officials’ timeout in each quarter for basketball to provide athletes and opportunity to adapt to wearing masks during completion. The masks, also for outdoor sports, are required via Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest COVID-related guidelines.
Basketball practices can begin Monday, with teams limited to a 14-game schedule. The first games will be in January.
— Kept the alterations to the 2020-2012 Modified Athletic Calendar as they are, and updated 2020-2021 Modified Sports Manual(s) for basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer and swimming & diving.
— Approved elimination of each member school’s highest ISP data point in a three-year window considered for the 2021-2025 Realignment formula due to anomalies in the data caused by natural disasters (ISP percentage will now be calculated using the lowest two ISP data points from the three-year period).
The ISP – basically a percentage of students attending a school who receive free lunches – is now part of the mix as the NCHSAA develops realignment scores/points for each school.
They’ll be ranked top to bottom and the NCHSAA will then do realignment in a purely East-West split with a pre-determined line, by counties, of where each begins and wins.
There will then be 25 percent of schools in each of four classifications.
A first draft of realignment by the NCHSAA staff, is scheduled to release to the schools on Thursday.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker issued this statement to media by email after the meetings:
“The members of our Board of Directors have done outstanding work during the course of the last year—not just these past two days.
“The NCHSAA has never asked more of a Board of Directors at any time in the Association’s history than we have of this group since March.
“They have risen to the challenge and guided the Association and its member schools with a steady and calm hand.
“We are grateful to be able to again offer competitive opportunities for student-athletes across the state. We are doubly thankful to the foresight and wisdom of past Boards that have put the Association in a position to weather the tremendous storm that COVID-19 brought into all of our lives.
“Not only will the NCHSAA weather the storm, we will be able to provide financial assistance to our member school’s athletic programs during these difficult times because of the dedication and guidance of so many past Board members that set the Association on solid footing.
“As we await the COVID-19 vaccine and hopeful abatement of the current worldwide crisis, we believe that better days are ahead for NCHSAA member schools and we will again be able to offer the robust programs and championship events that our student-athletes, coaches and communities have enjoyed for so long.”
NCHSAA PRESS CONFERENCE: https://www.highschoolot.com/nchsaa-holds-press-conference-following-board-meeting/19412418/
CURRENT NCHSAA COVID GUIDELINES: https://www.nchsaa.org/2020-2021-covid-19-modified-guidelines-and-resources