Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — The N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Board of Governors voted in a recent meeting to approve a one-time $4 million grant to help high school athletic programs that are struggling due to local and state COVID-related regulations.

The decision comes after Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell, Yadkin) wrote a letter in mid-November to the NCHSAA’s commissioner requesting the association consider a grant program to help high schools struggling to keep their athletic programs alive.

Jeff James, superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools, brought this issue to Sawyer’s attention and advocated for financial assistance to keep these vital athletic programs alive.

Sawyer then began working to seek alternative financial assistance.

COVID-19 regulations have had a drastic impact on ticket sales for high school athletic programs, which normally make up the bulk of their revenue. As a result, schools have struggled to come up with alternative ways to make up the costs.

“Our students have suffered so much already during this pandemic,” Sawyer said. “Sports programs offer a much needed mental and physical health outlet. When Superintendent James brought this issue to light, I knew we needed to act quickly to keep these programs alive. Thank you to the NCHSAA for approving this vital funding.”

The money will come from the NCHSAA’s endowment fund.

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