RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced news guidelines about the sports calendar Tuesday, among them specific playoff dates, a reduction in the number of teams that will be able to compete for a state title and an increase in the number of people now allowed at skills training sessions.
Consistent with the state's protocols in moving to Phase 2.5, the NCHSAA has now signed off on 25 people being present at indoor training sessions and 50 at outdoor practices. That's an increase from 10 and 25 people respectively.
Football is among the sports where only 32 teams will compete in the state playoffs. There will be two 16-team brackets in each classification. That's a 50% reduction over a normal season. Additionally, rather than using computerized rankings and winning percentage to seed teams for the playoffs, schools will be matched based off their placing in their respective conferences.
READ MORE: Modified skill developments (.pdf)
READ MORE: Modified sports regulations (.pdf)
The football state playoffs will begin Friday, April 16 and culminate in early May.
The unfortunate reality is that many multi-sport athletes will be forced to make painful choices as the boy's football, lacrosse and soccer calendars will all run together at certain points.
The NCHSAA increased the season limitation from 10 to 14 meets for swimming, cross-country, and track & field.
The NCHSAA said the guidance, in response to Phase 2.5 of reopening, uses a phased approach for NCHSAA athletes and is intended "to help school administrators, coaches, parents, students, and communities navigate a gradual reopening of high school athletic activities."
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The date for the cheerleading invitational was changed from May 1 to May 22.
In a release, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said, "we are looking forward to fully resuming sports in November. As always, we will continue to monitor health and safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
Some of the strategies outlined by the NCHSAA include frequent, effective hand hygiene; social distancing of at least 6 feet; disinfecting of high touch areas and avoiding touching of the face.
"Administrators and coaches must emphasize the need for all coaches and participants who have signs or symptoms of illness to stay home to decrease risk of viral transmission, as they may transmit the virus to vulnerable individuals," the NCHSAA said.
North Carolina High School Athletics Association sets playoff dates, releases new sports recommendations