Durham, NC – For the first time since lacrosse was sanctioned as a sport in 2010, there will be a newly sanctioned sport for NC High School Athletic Association-member schools in the coming years.
In a unanimous vote on Wednesday morning, the NCHSAA Board of Directors approved a proposal from the NC Wrestling Coaches Association to sanction girls wrestling as a sport in North Carolina. Girls wrestling will become a sanctioned sport for the 2023-2024 season.
The timing allows the NCHSAA and wrestling coaches to test run how playoffs and regionals will work during the 2022-2023 season, and the National Federation of State High School Associations will release girls wrestling weight classes in 2023.
“Let me just say how excited I am that (the sports committee) arrived at this … this is a historical moment for us,” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said to the board during the meeting.
Sanctioning the sport means girls wrestling will be eligible to hold a NCHSAA state championship instead of an invitational, which has been the case for the last several years.
According to the NCHSAA, there are 210 schools with at least one female wrestler and 125 schools with at least two female wrestlers.
NCHSAA bylaws require at least 25% of member schools to offer a sport in order to be sanctioned. With 427 member schools this year, that threshold sits at 107 schools.
The bylaws define a team as “two or more students practicing and competing in a regular scheduled school season.”
5-quarter rule passes for basketball in attempt to address participation concerns
After tabling a proposal from the NC Basketball Coaches Association last winter, the NCHSAA Board of Directors has approved a measure aimed at addressing the participation issue in high school basketball. The proposal was approved by a vote of 15-3.
The five-quarter rule, which will go into effect for the 2022-2023 basketball season, will allow 9th and 10th grade students to participate in five quarters of basketball games in a single day. This rule will be a three-year pilot program.
According to the NCBCA, some schools are struggling to field both varsity and junior varsity basketball teams. The five-quarter rule would allow schools to place players on each team and give coaches flexibility to add depth.
The rule says: “A student shall not participate in more than five quarters per day and will not exceed the seasonal limitation of games, exclusive of conference tournaments and state playoffs. Overtime periods shall be considered and extension of the previous quarter, and participation for any length of time in a quarter shall constitute a full quarter. “
A survey conducted by HighSchoolOT in April showed significant struggles for JV girls basketball programs, but there are participation issues across the board at some schools.
The survey, which included responses from 184 NCHSAA athletic directors, found 39.1% of NCHSAA schools saw a decline in girls basketball participation this year. Another 16.8% of NCHSAA schools reported a decline in boys basketball participation.
NCHSAA adds 4A class for girls lacrosse
There will be a new division in girls lacrosse for the 2023-2024 school year.
The NCHSAA Board of Directors voted to approve a proposal to add a 4A classification for girls lacrosse. Currently, all four classifications play together in girls lacrosse.
Currently, 70 of 106 schools at the 4A level field girls lacrosse teams. NCHSAA bylaws say when at least half the schools in a classification participates in a sport, the sport “shall culminate in a state championship for that classification.”
The NCHSAA bylaws also require the 50% threshold to be maintained for at least two consecutive school years.