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NCHSAA announces playoff plans

By Andy Rhinehart

 

North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday its plans for the 2020-2021 playoffs as well as changes to some sport seasons and skill development guidelines.

The NCHSAA set dates for all playoffs as well as announced that there will be no dual team playoffs in wrestling and tennis. Playoff fields will also be reduced to 32 teams in most sports, down from the current 64-team fields, with football still subdividing into two 16-team brackets. There are changes to the bracket and seeding procedures as well.

For team sports, split conferences such as the Western Highlands Conference will receive one automatic qualifier for the 1A playoffs, as has been the case in past years, with conference winning percentage being used to determine wildcard qualifiers rather than MaxPreps Adjusted Power Rating (MAPR). Predetermined brackets will also be used, rather than seeding with MAPR, to help minimize travel for playoff teams.

With North Carolina moving into Phase 2.5 of its reopening plan that expanded the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gathrings, the NCHSAA has made a similar change to its workout guidelines. Now, a total of 25 people can attend an indoor skill development session and 50 people can attend an outdoor session.

In other changes of note regarding playoffs and regular-season schedules:

  • Cross country and track and field teams can now take part in 14 meets instead of 10
  • In golf and tennis, boys and girls will be allowed to practice simultaneously when their seasons overlap
  • Track and field and cross country meets are limited to a maximum of four schools
  • Wrestling tournaments will not be allowed, but teams can take part in two tri-meets per week

The calendars for each sport will now look like this:

Volleyball
First practice: Nov. 4
Regular season: Nov. 16-Jan. 8
Playoffs: Jan. 12-Jan. 23

Cross Country
First practice: Nov. 4
Regular season: Nov. 16-Jan. 8
Regional meet: Jan. 16
State meet: Jan. 23

Basketball
First practice: Dec. 7
Regular season: Jan. 14-Feb. 19
Playoffs: Feb. 23-Mar. 6

Boys Soccer
First practice: Jan. 11
Regular season: Jan. 25
Playoffs: March 16-27

Football
First practice: Feb. 8
Regular season: Feb. 26
Playoffs: April 16-May 8

Boys/Girls Golf
First practice: March 1
Regular season: March 15
Regional tournament: May 3 or May 4
State tournament: May 10-11

Boys tennis
First practice: March 1
Regular season: March 15
Regional tournament: May 7-8
State tournament: May 14-15

Girls soccer
First practice: March 1
Regular season: March 15
Playoffs: May 3-15

Softball
First practice: March 1
Regular season: March 15
Playoffs: May 3-15

Baseball
First practice: April 12
Regular season: April 26
Playoffs: June 15-26

Girls tennis
First practice: April 12
Regular season: April 26
Regional tournament: June 18-19
State tournament: June 25-26

Track and Field
First practice: April 12
Regular season: April 26
Regional meet: June 18-19
State meet: June 25-26

Wrestling
First practice: April 12
Regular season: April 26
Regional meet: June 18-19
State meet: June 26