RALEIGH — Board members of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association engaged in lengthy discussions about the Association’s ongoing talks with the State Board of Education, the status of the NCHSAA Endowment, and the Association’s annual budget. The Board took action on many items during its annual winter meeting. Highlights are as follows:
The board approved the 2021-2022 budget, which includes an estimated $1.2 million shortfall. This is the second straight year experiencing a negative annual operating budget, impacting operational and program reserves. The Board felt the Association is currently in a stable financial position and can absorb some expenses for member schools in their ongoing attempts to recover from the impacts of shortened seasons during 2020-2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board approved waiving the membership dues for 2021-2022 only. Schools will still be responsible for the $100 annual school fee for the year. This waiver of membership dues is in addition to the Board’s commitment to take on the catastrophic insurance premiums for all member schools for this year. As a result of HB 91, schools should prepare to reassume responsibility for catastrophic insurance premiums in 2022-2023, which schools must purchase through the Department of Insurance.
The board approved a rule that any student missing five or more consecutive days of practice for illness or injury must practice for three separate days prior to a return to competition. This item clarifies the current policy and will allow students missing practice for reasons other than illness or injury, such as a funeral, etc. to return without the three-day practice requirement. This provision will be effective immediately.
The board approved inserting a “leapfrog” provision in the playoff qualification process, effective immediately. This was done using feedback from member coaches and athletic directors following qualification and seeding process for bracketed sports during the fall playoff season. Although teams with higher RPI ratings will still be seeded higher, they may not qualify before a team that finished ahead of them in their conference standings.
The board discussed the use of a shot clock in men’s and women’s basketball, including the feedback received from a survey of basketball coaches, athletic directors, and principals. With mixed results from the survey, the Board took no action at this time, but directed staff to continue seeking feedback from member schools on the possible implementation of a shot clock in the coming years.