WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Board of Directors voted on Thursday to keep the current amended sports schedule in place, making no changes to the calendar released earlier this fall.
The board did vote unanimously that starting in the 2021-2022 season, the football playoffs will no longer be subdivided. That means there will only be four playoff brackets with four state champions. Currently, there are eight brackets with eight state champions as each classification is divided in half.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a surprise,” said Hoggard Athletic Director Brad Lewis. “I don’t think people expected it to come. We’ve had it before; we’ve seen it will be the same as the other sports.”
“At the 4A level you’ll have some teams with 3500 students and some with 1800,” added New Hanover football coach Dylan Dimock. “Some of the equity things they try to fix with the subdivisions are going to reappear.”
The board reduced the number of regular season games from 11 to 10, which will include an endowment game. The first game cannot occur until two days prior to the last Friday in August.
“I like the more practice time,” said Dimock. “I always like playing games. So, losing a game, I was put out a little bit. But then they added a game to the playoffs.”
The NCHSAA is also making changes to its realignment formula that is set to go in place in 2021. The board voted to eliminate each school’s highest Individual Student Percentage (ISP) data point in the three-year average. The ISP data is a measure of the number of students at a school that receive some form of government assistance, based on USDA standards.
“For us...from a community standpoint, from a revenue and expense standpoint, our conference can’t get much better than it is right now,” said Lewis. “Regardless of what happens with the classification and how many in our conference fall to 3A or 4A we would like to stay with the group that we are [in] and continue what we’ve had for the last four years.”
Below are a few highlights of decisions of the Board of Directors.
· Approved the allocation of $4,000,000 in Board/Undesignated Funds from the NCHSAA Endowment as a one-time subsidy for schools offering athletic programs during the 2020-2021 academic year (sub-committee to be formed to determine distribution formula/method)
· No alterations to the 2020-2021 Modified Athletic Calendar
· Updated the 2020-2021 Modified Sports Manual for Basketball, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, & Swimming & Diving
· Approved the creation of a 60-second officials’ timeout in each quarter for basketball to provide an opportunity for athletes to adapt to wearing masks during competition
· Approved virtual monitoring (tele-medicine) as an alternative to face-to-face monitoring of the Concussion Return to Play Protocol
· Eliminated subdivisions in football, effective August 2021
· Reduced the number of regular season contests in football, effective August 2021, to 10 games (including endowment) while implementing a stipulation that the first contest may not occur more than two days in advance of the final Friday in August
· Approved elimination of each member school’s highest ISP data point in the three-year window considered for the 2021-2025 realignment formula due to anomalies in the data caused by natural disasters (ISP percentage will now be calculated using the lowest two ISP data points from the three-year period)