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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

North Carolina Matches Practice Like Pros' Limits

North Carolina has become the second state to match Practice Like Pros' recommended restrictions on high school football practice. By unanimous vote today, the Board of Directors of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) joined New Jersey in ratifying the tightest contact limits in the history of the game at any level of the game -- less contact than mandated by the NFL, less than the Ivy League, less than any football jurisdiction ever. North Carolina high school football practice will be revised in this way:

  • Pre-Season:  Full contact, including scrimmages, will be reduced to 6 hours.

  • Regular Season:  Full contact will be reduced from 60 minutes per week to 15.

  • Spring:  Unchanged is the ban on full contact, but added will be 60 minutes of thud drills (known as "bump" in North Carolina).  Thud/bump remains unlimited in pre-season and regular season.

The process of change began in Greensboro in mid-July, 2019, when Practice Like Pros made a presentation to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Football Coaches Association (NCFCA).  In attendance at that session was Que Tucker, Executive Director of the NCHSAA. "She is the heroine of this story," said PLP founder Terry O'Neil.  "She showed the coaches great respect by attending their Board meeting in July.  She immediately understood that this kind of change could best be accomplished in collaboration with the coaches, rather than by decree of the governing body." The two sides each designated a working group to meet January 29 in Chapel Hill, NCHSAA administrators led by Ms. Tucker, a delegation of 15 coaches led by Daniel Barrow Sr., Executive Director of the NCFCA.  They came to agreement after a full day of video screening and negotiation. Their proposal was unanimously approved April 16 by the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and today by the NCHSAA Board. The North Carolina announcement comes at a time of great uncertainty for football at all levels. "No doubt, COVID-19 will be damaging for high school football participation," said O'Neil.  "When we return to 'normal,' we'll need the kind of innovation that North Carolina and New Jersey have demonstrated.  They are showing us the future of high school football."  

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