The N.C. High School Athletic Association begins its sports calendar with cross country meets and volleyball matches Monday afternoon. But before the meets and games began, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker answered questions from media members about how the association has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the highlights of Tucker's comments:
On the current requirement to wear masks during all indoor competition, practices or offseason skill development workouts:
"We believe this is a necessary and a safe step to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our programs."
On seeing video of basketball teams conducting workouts with scrimmaging, in violation of NCHSAA rules:
"I received a video just last week showing a team that was violating these policies, so we will visit a school and take necessary action if we receive word of continued violations. As a former high school coach, I can think of many drills and other ways to get teams ready for the start of tryouts and practice on Dec. 7."
On whether basketball players will be required to wear masks once official practices and games begin:
"We understand that playing basketball wearing a mask is perhaps problematic, so we're not asking anybody to do anything moving beyond these next two or three weeks."
On travel/club teams not wearing masks during competition:
"Perhaps if I'm a volleyball player or a basketball player who wants to get our season off and running I'm going to turn those loose, because I don't know what those people are doing. I have a pretty good idea what my teammates at high school are doing. ... I wish there was a way that our club sports right now would just dial it back, would cease to do what they've been doing because we're trying to play at the high school level. If I had a wish list, that would be at the top of it."
On lessons learned from college football and basketball:
"As testing and contact tracing improves, it should be easier for our coaches and athletics directors to say to student-athletes, especially as we move forward, 'We want you to go find one of those free testing sites and get tested,' especially if there is a concern about second-hand exposure or what might just be a cold. ... One lesson is that there are some teams that have not had the clusters and the outbreaks, and that has to do with the commitment and the attitude of all people involved in those programs."
On the realignment process for classifications and conferences, which must be concluded by the end of the school year:
"We have a process that has been approved by our board of directors and we are fine-tuning it and trying to get to the membership in the coming days information about the process moving forward. We're going to get it into the hands of the membership this week, then begin to move forward with a more formal process. ... It is going to start unfolding in earnest in the next several days, especially after the Thanksgiving break."
On the status of the rest of the athletics year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic:
"We're taking it one day at a time, and if we get the word that we have to do something different we will."
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