The Sylva Herald, written by Carey Phillips

There will be no high school sports in Jackson County until at least November, and college sports will be limited at best due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s the result of decisions made last week by the N.C. High School Athletic Association and the Southern Conference.

The NCHSAA postponed fall sports with the first practice Nov. 4 for volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country.

The Southern Conference postponed all fall conference sports and championships with the hope to play in the spring semester. Programs impacted at Western Carolina include football, volleyball, women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s cross country.

However, the league left it up to schools whether to play non-conference games. WCU spokesman Daniel Hooker said Monday “intentions for potential fall sports competition” will be announced later this week.

Dates for high school sports are as follow although they are subject to change depending on the COVID-19 state trends over the next few months:

• Men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball, first practice Nov. 4; regular season Nov. 16-Jan. 8; limit of 14 volleyball matches and 10 cross country meets.

• Men’s and women’s swimming, first practice Nov. 23; regular season Dec. 7-Jan. 30; limit 10 meets.

• Basketball, first practice Dec. 7; regular season Jan. 4-Feb. 19; limit 14 games.

• Men’s soccer, first practice Jan. 11; regular season Jan. 25-March 12, limit 14 games.

• Football, first practice Feb. 8; regular season Feb. 26-April 9; limit seven games.

• Men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, first practice March 1; regular season March 15-April 30; limit 14 games and matches.

• Baseball, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track, wrestling, first practice April 12; regular season April 26-June 11, limit 14 games and matches except for track with a limit of 10 meets.

There will be no indoor track.

Teams will be limited to two events per week, except for football, which is limited to one game per week.

The NCHSAA plans to hold playoffs in each sport, but no dates have been announced.

As for colleges, it’s not clear when fall sports will be played. Spring could mean March-May, or it could mean anytime in the spring semester, which starts in January.

The NCAA has canceled all fall sports championships. The only exception is the College Football Playoffs, which are not governed by the NCAA.

It’s not clear if the football playoffs will be held as two of the Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten and Pac-12 – have postponed fall sports until spring. As of now, the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern and Big 12 conferences plan to play fall sports, including football.