The South Fork 2A Conference sent out a press release on Friday afternoon announcing the procedures that have been put in place for the 2020-21 high school football season, which is set to begin on Feb. 26. They include an earlier start time, limited spectators and one less varsity team.
Here’s a look at some of the major details shared in the press release:
• Lake Norman Charter will not field a varsity football team this year, leaving the South Fork 2A with seven varsity teams (Bandys, Maiden, Newton-Conover, East Lincoln, North Lincoln, Lincolnton and West Lincoln) for a total of six regular-season contests apiece. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association previously mandated a maximum of seven regular-season games per team, but it is unlikely that any South Fork 2A squads will be able to find a seventh opponent this close to the start of the season, though they are permitted to do so.
• All South Fork 2A games, both JV and varsity, will kick off at 7 p.m. Varsity games have typically started at 7:30 p.m., with JV contests beginning at 7 p.m.
• Attendance will be limited to 100 total spectators, but no visiting fans will be allowed in the stadium. Tickets for home fans will be limited to family members and must be purchased in advance for $7 per event.
• Everyone must wear a face mask and social distancing will be enforced. Seats will be clearly marked.
• The general admission parking lot will be used, meaning no parking will be allowed behind the field houses or in any other enclosed areas within the stadiums, with the exception of buses and vehicles carrying essential team equipment.
• All South Fork 2A contests, JV and varsity, will be streamed live for a price of $20 per device. Information can be obtained by visiting the sfcnetwork.tv website.
• No media will be permitted in press boxes, unless there is enough space and something has been worked out with the host school’s athletic director ahead of time. An area will be marked off in the bleachers for both print and broadcast media members, and members of the press must be credentialed by the NCHSAA. All print outlets will be allowed one reporter and one photographer, while broadcast outlets will be limited to two people.
The schedule for Week 1 of the high school football season in the South Fork 2A includes the following contests on Feb. 26: Maiden at Bandys, Newton-Conover at Lincolnton and West Lincoln at North Lincoln. East Lincoln was also scheduled to visit Lake Norman Charter, but the Mustangs will now have an opening-week bye unless they can find a new opponent.