Board of Education: high school athletics are exempt from Plan C

Volleyball, XC will work out Wednesday

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/7/20

PITTSBORO — This week, high school sports are back. To some degree.

The volleyball and cross country teams at Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central are all resuming voluntary preseason …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 3 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 7 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Board of Education: high school athletics are exempt from Plan C

Volleyball, XC will work out Wednesday

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.

Posted

PITTSBORO — This week, high school sports are back. To some degree.

The volleyball and cross country teams at Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central are all resuming voluntary preseason non-contact workouts this week — some as early as Wednesday — in advance of their first official practices on Nov. 4 and games on Nov. 16, as set by the NCHSAA.

When they do hit their respective fields and courts, they’ll break a nearly three-month “dead period” in Chatham County Schools athletics — thanks to a decision last week from the CCS Board of Education.

At a special meeting last Tuesday night, the BOE voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve a plan that cleared the way for workouts to resume as an exception to the district’s at-home learning Plan C.

Other high school sports teams will resume workouts four weeks before their first official practice dates set by the NCHSAA, according to a presentation by district athletic director Chris Blice. Football is an exception: those teams will start six weeks ahead of their first practice for injury/conditioning reasons.

In the same plan, Blice also laid out a calendar for the district’s middle school sports teams, governed by the N.C. Dept. of Public Instruction, to resume their season in January with a condensed schedule.

Last Tuesday’s meeting was well attended, with the main multipurpose room at Horton Middle School reaching its full 25-person capacity and families filtering into two nearby overflow rooms. One attendee brandished a “Let Them Play!” sign, and a handful of Chatham Central volleyball players were present.

But the decision itself wasn’t controversial.

Blice’s presentation was the first item on the BOE’s agenda. After he briefed the board on the three documents in his plan — the NCHSAA’s overhauled athletics calendar, the new CCS high school workout plan and the new CCS middle school schedule — he got just one follow-up question.

Chairperson Gary Leonard, a former Chatham Central athletic director and baseball coach, made a motion to approve the plan, and all five board members voted yes. The whole process took about 10 minutes, as the BOE quickly moved onto more Plan C exemption discussions for the rest of the night.

On Twitter, reactions to the news from local coaches and athletic directors was swift — and positive.

“We’re excited!” Northwood cross country coach Cameron Isenhour wrote.

“On our way back!” J-M athletic director Josh Harris said.

“Let’s roll!” Northwood football coach Cullen Homolka added.

Chatham Central baseball coach Brett Walden didn’t include any words in his tweet but made his opinion clear with a string of 52 consecutive exclamation points instead.

CCS athletics were previously suspended indefinitely on Friday, July 17, after two weeks of workouts under the NCHSAA’s Phase One guidelines. That came a day after the board first voted to start the 2020-21 school year under all-remote Plan C learning. When the board extended Plan C through the first nine weeks of the school year, the district said it would keep workouts suspended through that date, too.

But Tuesday’s news confirmed athletics will be an exemption to that rule going forward, even with Plan C in effect for the majority of CCS students, teachers and employees until Jan. 15, 2021.

The principals and athletic directors of Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central all supported Blice’s district-wide plan, which can be viewed online at this link. (Blice didn’t respond to emailed follow-up questions on the plan before the News + Record’s Tuesday afternoon print deadline.)

In allowing workouts to resume under the NCHSAA’s Phase Two guidelines, CCS joins a majority of school districts, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County Schools, who have done so in the last few months.

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Subscribe to The Chatham Brew now to get the latest news from Chatham County straight to your inbox.

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

Get your digital subscription today.

Access all content on our website, including our e-edition, at a discounted rate while also being environmentally friendly.

Get your 1-year digital subscriptions for only $39.
That's just 10¢ per day for the great coverage of your local news!

Subscribe now