By Earl Vaughan Jr.
With crowds at N.C. High School Athletic Association indoor events currently limited to 25 spectators, consisting mostly of parents and guardians of athletes on the home team, Cumberland County schools are finalizing a plan that will allow more people to actually watch the teams play with the aid of technology.
For the last several years, the National Federation of State High School Associations and the NFHS Network have combined to offer an automated camera called a Pixellot installed at its member schools.
Vernon Aldridge, student activities director of the Cumberland County Schools, said each Pixellot costs about $5,000, but the schools get two cameras at no charge except for the cost of installation.
Schools usually place one camera on the press box of the football stadium and the second high in the bleachers in the school gymnasium. The cameras are self-contained and programmed to follow the ball and the players on the court or field with no one actually operating the controls. They can be turned on and off remotely.
About half the schools in the county currently have at least one and in some cases both cameras installed, with the rest scheduled to be up and running sometime in early January.
Some of the schools are experimenting with doing live streaming on either YouTube or Facebook. Once they are all up and running, the livestreams will move to the NFHS Network which is a subscription service offered by the National Federation.
To watch the videos then, people will have to subscribe. A yearly subscription is $69.99, or if you only want to subscribe during the regular school year or the sports season when a given athlete plays, it’s $10.99 per month.
“We’ll have it up and ready by basketball season,’’ Aldridge said. “This is one of the ways we can branch out to folks beyond athletes’ parents and guardians.’’
Cumberland County high school swimmers recently got some bad news about the upcoming season. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the indoor pool at Fayetteville State University will not be available for competition this year.
Fortunately, they have an alternative that has been used in the past, portable domes located over the outdoor recreation department pools at Westover and College Lakes.
The actual meets will be held at the Westover pool, but because of the size of the dome and the new restrictions that have been placed on the number of people who can attend an indoor swim meet, no spectators will be allowed.
Aldridge said the current plan is to livestream the swim meets at Westover so parents and fans will be able to watch.
Swimmers will begin practice for their season on Monday. The actual start date of competition had not been finalized.
Usually, the subject of realigning the conferences of the NCHSAA is a hot topic from start to finish. But with COVID-19 dominating headlines, it has moved decidedly into the background. That’s about to change.
We are less than a month from the official release of the first draft of realignment, which will take effect in July of 2021.
This is the most complicated realignment ever because the NCHSAA no longer will rely entirely on the average daily membership enrollment figures for each of its schools.
A formula has been developed that will also take into consideration how successful a school has been based on points awarded for top eight finishes in any officially sanctioned state sport. They will also use something called the Identified Student Percentage, which takes into account the percentage of students at a school that qualify for government assistance as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There will be a clear dividing line between East and West schools running from Caswell County on the Virginia border down past Alamance, Chatham and Moore and ending with Richmond.
The first draft of the realignment plan will be released on Dec. 10.
If you’d like more detail on the new realignment formula and how the entire process works, go to
https://www.nchsaa.org/schools/schools-main-page/conferences/realignment-information and watch an 11-minute video that explains the process.
NO ONE IS RUNNING CROSS COUNTRY RESULTS AND THEY ARE NOT POSTED ON MAXPREPS. I AM GOING TO HAVE TO ASK THE ATHLETIC DIRECTORS OR COACHES TO SEND THEM TO ME DIRECTLY, SO NO CROSS COUNTRY SCORES THIS WEEK.
This week’s games
Westover at South View
Overhills at Cape Fear
Gray’s Creek at E.E. Smith
Douglas Byrd at Pine Forest
Jack Britt at Richmond Senior
Seventy-First at Lumberton
Terry Sanford at Overhills
Pine Forest at Westover
Cape Fear at Gray’s Creek
E.E. Smith at Douglas Byrd
Purnell Swett at Jack Britt
Scotland at Seventy-First
Terry Sanford, Cape Fear, Westover at Clark Park
Douglas Byrd, Pine Forest, South View at South View
E.E. Smith, Gray’s Creek, Overhills at Gray’s Creek
Purnell Swett, Scotland, Hoke County, Jack Britt at Jack Britt
Lumberton, Pinecrest, Richmond Senior, Seventy-First at Luther Britt Park
Village Christian at New Life Christian
Freedom Christian vs. Cannon, Rock Hill, S.C.
Northwood Temple vs. Carmel Christian, Rock Hill, S.C.
Northwood Temple at Phenom November Classic, Rock Hill, S.C.
Concord Academy at Trinity Christian
Fayetteville Academy at Faith Christian
Trinity Christian at Village Christian