By CHRIS HOBBS
MAIDEN – The South Fork 2A is moving itself front and center online, developing a conference website and preparing for live streaming of some varsity sports.
Conference administrator Butch Parker said at a recent league press conference that a price would be set – probably for single-event views or a season pass — for streaming and those prices are TBA.
The sports that could be live streamed are — in order they will be played this school year – varsity volleyball, varsity basketball, football, baseball and softball.
A date for the launch of the website and streaming has not yet been announced.
Parker said each school will have a team page on the league website and access to streaming will be on the website.
He said each school can opt in and pay to do so (Bandys, East Lincoln, Maiden, North Lincoln and West Lincoln are in, Parker said).
Chris Ritchie, who Parker said has West Lincoln High ties, will build and coordinate the South Fork 2A’s online moves.
Parker also addressed revenue in general in high school sports and said the South Fork 2A is considering raising ticket prices for its events to $7.
It’s currently unclear exactly how many fans/people will be allowed at indoor and outdoor high school athletic events in the state. That will have a significant impact on athletic programs.
Parker estimated fielding athletic teams for a school year costs at least $45,000.
Without any ticket revenues, a large majority – if not all – programs would have a shortage. Parker also works at Maiden High, and he said even with strong community support financially, Maiden would be about $10,000 short.
“It (revenue) is dried up right now,” Parker said.
He said Maiden will weather the storm – “It’s gonna be tough but we’re gonna put our kids in the best equipment.”
Ultimately, state guidelines will determine how many fans/spectators can get into an event. The first guidelines said 25 at outdoor events and 50 at outside events but did not clarify if that included student-athletes, coaches, etc., in that total.
Gov. Roy Cooper has since said an event can allow 7 percent of the stadium capacity.
“The South Fork 2A will push for at least parents to get into the games,” Parker said. “The conference priority will be on parents getting into games, then students and then the public.”
Parker said the league is considering no longer accepting Senior Tar Heel or North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) passes.
He also said South Fork 2A schools will do what they can to accommodate media coverage of events. But with distancing requirements and other factors, Parker said each league school will have to make its own decisions about media access for press boxes, etc.
In other discussions:
Consideration is being given to a schedule that would have league foes play home and away in the same week.
For example, East Lincoln and West Lincoln would each have a home game in their series in the same week.
The league decided if a team is not able to participate in any of its 14 conference matches, the team that can’t play will forfeit.
The league is working toward an Oct. 30 date and is trying to coordinate sites for meets.
If league swimming can’t be nailed down, it would most likely allow its teams to classify as independent and try to build schedules individually.
Parker said there will be a South Fork 2A swim event for the purpose of seeding individuals for postseason competition.
Conference officials continue to work on coordinating sites for the events and plan to release a schedule when that is done.
Parker said North Lincoln has an on-campus site and that could become an option.