There will be high school football in North Carolina this fall.
N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association director Homar Ramirez told the association’s member schools via email Tuesday afternoon that high school football teams can begin practice Sept. 8 and play their first games the week of Sept. 21.
The NCISAA Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Ramirez told The Observer earlier Tuesday, to discuss the association’s plans for fall sports. Previously, the NCISAA announced that low-risk sports — cross-country, golf and tennis — could begin Sept. 8. Practices are already underway in those sports.
Moderate risk sports — boys soccer, field hockey and volleyball — will begin Sept. 14.
The email said, “at this time, all interscholastic contests (indoor and outdoor) will begin play with no fans.”
The N.C. High School Athletic Association, which governs the state’s 421 mostly public schools, decided earlier this month that football would not be played until early 2021. The NCHSAA allowed teams to return for offseason workouts in June and recently announced a revised sports schedule that will begin in November instead of in August.
According to the email, the NCISAA’s Board also approved an “Alternate Season Option.” It will allow member schools to play fall sports Feb. 22-April 19.
The NCISAA canceled sports last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The association allowed schools to begin offseason workouts in late May and Providence Day’s football was one of the first ones to do, hitting the field in early June.
One private school, SouthLake Christian in Huntersville, decided last week that it would not play football no matter what the NCISAA decided.
SouthLake Christian headmaster Dr. Matthew Kerlin told The Observer that he didn’t feel the school could have a football season and follow CDC or N.C. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.
Langston Wertz Jr. is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked at the Observer since 1988. He’s covered everything from Final Fours and NFL to video games and Britney Spears. Wertz — a West Charlotte High and UNC grad — is the rare person who can answer “Charlotte,” when you ask, “What city are you from.”
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