IN THIS CORNER

There will likely be plenty of bumps in the road during the 2020-2021 high school athletic season.

Each week seemingly brings a new issue.

On Monday, The Daily News reported Lejeune will not field football and soccer teams this school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It isn’t a school decision. It comes from the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The Jacksonville newspaper reported last month that DODEA canceled winter sports seasons for basketball and wrestling.

The new amended N.C. High School Athletic Association calendar limits football teams to seven games and soccer, basketball and wrestling to 14 contests.

Lejeune is in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference, which as its name suggests, is made up of eight teams. Coastal 8 teams were able to easily make up their schedules by just slating league games.

On its face, this would create problems for county athletic programs East Carteret and Croatan, and it still may, but it could also create opportunities.

East and Croatan weren’t originally set to play county rival West Carteret this year. But West is part of the 3A Coastal Conference, which has only six teams, creating five league games in football and 10 in soccer, basketball and wrestling.

Coastal teams have been scrambling to fill their schedules with a full allotment of games.

The Croatan football team quickly filled the Lejeune hole in its schedule with Coastal member Jacksonville.

We’ll see how other teams in other sports fill those slots.

And a new wrinkle was added last week to the volleyball season.

The NCHSAA announced a mask mandate on Thursday for practices and games, stating that it believed it to be a necessary and safe step to control the spread of COVID-19.

According to the association, after two weeks of practice, several volleyball teams across the state were in quarantine and were not going to be able start their competitive seasons on time due to COVID-19 exposure.

With approximately 400 volleyball teams actively participating across the state, the NCHSAA believes it is its responsibility to mitigate the risk of infection while allowing opportunities for athletic participation to continue.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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