By Carey Phillips


The N.C. High School Athletic Association will move into Phase II of its COVID-19 reopening guidelines Monday.

The primary difference between Phase I, which went into effect June 15, and Phase II appears to be that limited sharing of balls/equipment will be allowed within pods.

During the voluntary workouts, players are allowed to be in pods with a maximum of 10 participants. Thus far, they have only been allowed to use one ball per person with no passing, etc.

Balls/equipment must be disinfected frequently and prior to use by another pod.

“It’s progress,” Smoky Mountain Athletic Director Adam Phillips said. “Our kids will be tickled to death to be able to throw a football, pass a soccer ball or a volleyball or rebound a basketball.”

Players are still prohibited from having contact with each other, including celebrations. Players and coaches must maintain 6 feet of distancing.

“The NCHSAA staff has been working closely with the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on recommendations for member schools regarding summer activities that align with NCDHHS directives,” states a release sent by James Alverson, the NCHSAA’s assistant commissioner for media relations. “The guidance utilizes a phased approach for NCHSAA athletes and is intended to help school administrators, coaches, parents, students and communities navigate a gradual reopening of high school athletic activities.”

The NCHSAA has delayed the start of official fall sports practice from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1.