State needs to change start date

Students should report when athletes begin fall contests

the editorial board

Summer is supposed to be filled with fun, rest and relaxation. For athletes that play a fall sport, this vision of summer is not reality.
For the majority of fall sports, mandatory practices begin around July 31, almost a full month before the first day of school, which began on Aug. 29 this year.
These required practices should be more in line with the beginning of school: athletes report to their teams, and students report to their classes.
Because the start of athletics statewide begins a month before the school year begins, athletes are hindered from getting and holding jobs or internships, which are crucial aspects of a college application and personal development.
If the start of the academic year was moved back to align with the start of athletics, the school year would end in mid-May, not mid-June. Athletes could seek out those jobs and internships like any other student.
Lost free time that most other students get during their vacation can be recouped since academic students and athletes will have equally allotted summer time.
This period of relaxation is essential to the athlete’s body and mental health. Limiting an athlete’s summer break versus his or her peers puts the athlete at a disadvantage academically, as he or she had less time to allow the brain to relax and pursue other interests.
The legislature’s original goal to boost tourism at NC beaches through an August 29 start is made irrelevant by the fact that literally thousands of NC families cannot go during the weeks in August anyway because their children are involved in meaningful and character-building sports. All students, whether an athlete or not, should start school on the same day. Or if the state doesn’t wish to align tryouts and school, then school should at least start when the first contests begin. This year teams played several games and matches before attending the first class.
It is not possible to start sports later because it would create too much overlap. Winter and spring coaches would wait up to four weeks on athletes to conclude the playoffs of the previous season. Spring athletes would compete for playoff wins and championships after they graduated.
The solution is simple: give districts the ability to start school earlier.