One of the largest opportunities left for 2020 high school athletes to compete this season has just been removed from the schedule. The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) had been weighing options to move their traditional mid-June meet to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, tentatively scheduled for July 30th - Aug 2nd. The move came after a questionnaire was sent out to the track community, gauging interest in the meet, and the feasibility of travel at that point in the summer. At the time, the reception was positive.
NSAF gave themselves a deadline of June 15th to make the final decision on whether the meet would be held, to allow teams and individuals adequate time to book travel and lodging accommodations. Breaking news released the final verdict just an hour ago. Sources confirmed the meet had been shelved.
The news comes as several states are seeing a resurgence in positive cases of the COVID-19 virus, the original impetus for the postponement of the original June national championship.
Many states have reopened across the country, leading to a surge in the reported cases. South Dakota was among the 21 states that have seen a surge in cases in recent weeks. The meets former home, North Carolina, also was among those states.
NSAF owns and operates an independent national high school championship meet, and it has partnered with many brands over the years as title sponsors. New Balance had been its most recent title sponsor, but that 10-year-deal ran out in the spring of this year.
NSAF is currently are seeking a new title sponsor for when its indoor national championships return next winter, pending any more developments due to the coronavirus.
From the NSAF press release from Tuesday, June 16:
It is with great sadness that the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation has made the decision to cancel the 2020 NSAF Outdoor Nationals, which had been tentatively scheduled to take place July 30-August 2 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, S.D., due to the continued impact of COVID-19.
"The NSAF Board recognizes and applauds the incredible commitment and effort that the athletes, coaches, support staffs, and their families dedicate to our sport and becoming everything they can be in and through track and field. And it is heartbreaking that we will not be able to reward them by hosting the national outdoor championships this year, as we have done every year since 1991," said NSAF Executive Director Jim Spier, director of the meet since its inception. "It's been our mission to provide this year's athletes that same special national championship experience - especially in this COVID-19 year when so much has already been taken away from them."
"But we have to hold ourselves to the highest standard, and certain 'boxes' absolutely had to be checked in order to safely host the meet," he continued, "and we could not with absolute certitude check all of those boxes. We determined that it is not possible to conduct the Championships at the level we and the athletes, coaches, and parents from around the country expect of the NSAF."