UNC Indoor Track Availability

  • Jack Rayfield
    jrayfield Edited
    Does anyone know if UNC has changed it's mind on indoor track this year? Their website lists 3 indoor College meets with Chapel Hill as the site. I do not know of another indoor track site at UNC other than Eddie Smith Field House. A friend of mine was in the Eddie Smith Field House recently and if the equipment that was preventing indoor track there is what is in there now he said it would probably fit inside a semi-trailer.

    I can not imagine that as many buildings as UNC has they can not find some where to store this small amount of equipment for the indoor season and allow the State meets to proceed. The friend pondered the question of why NCHSAA would not provide for the removal and storeage of this equipment for the one weekend it would require to have the State meet. This sounds like a great solution to me. I would volunteer to help with the moving process.

    Any one knowledgable on the state of indoor track at UNC this season? I think we should start an email campaign to see if we can not convince UNC and NCHSAA to get their act together and support Indoor Track in NC .

    UNC contact Meet Director Josh Langley email - jlangley@uncaa.unc.edu
    NCHSAA contact Commissioner Davis Whitfield email - davis@nchsaa.org
    Tel 919-240-7365
  • Mark McLamb
    Good point. I just checked the UNC site and they do have some Indoor meets scheduled. It does sound odd that they are hosting college meets but we are not going to hold a state championship meet there. I wonder if it is UNC or NCHSAA that does not want us to run a state meet?! Considering the fact that more high school athletes compete in Track & Field than any other sport, you would think our state association would work a little harder at promoting our sport and make sure it does not take a step back... by not having a state championship meet. The bottom line is.... they (NCHSAA) need to work hard and find a solution to this problem.
  • Coach
    It is my understanding that the college meets will include only a small number of teams to keep the numbers in the facility down. I feel for the seniors. It is their final chance to try to win an indoor state championship. Many have been trying for 3 years and may be very close. When the early signing period for track was eliminated, it took the pressure off college coaches to sign athletes off what they did the previous year. They now use indoor performances more now than they once did to determine who they should award college scholarships. State championship performances carry a lot of weight.
  • Jack Rayfield
    Here is the response I received from Commissioner Davis Whitfield to my email. Apparently UNC is still not an option. But it is obvious that finding an indoor track site for the NC state championship is not receiving the attention it should at NCHSAA as this response clearly shows a lack of urgency by stating the issue will be discussed in the future. Well indoor season is less than 3 weeks away the time to decide is now. Josh Langley of UNC has not responded yet maybe it is time to contact Dick Baddour and stir up some state pride.

    At this point the UNC facility is not available to us. The Board of Director's will be discussing this issue in the near future and a resolution forthcoming.

    Thank you for your interest in NCHSAA athletics and especially indoor track, no one likes this situation but we are trying to find an alternative.

    Take care.
    Davis Whitfield"

    North Carolina High School Athletic Association
  • Jack Rayfield
    jrayfield Edited

    Ok now UNC has responded and stated that the college meets were never in question but they are being limited to one day meets and potentially limited to number of teams and/or athletes that participate. The UNC coach indicated "We explored every avenue possible in order to keep the Championships here in Chapel Hill. After multiple meetings, phone calls, and countless emails, it was determined it was not feasible for either side." I do not know what this means but have sent a followup email to find out why the restrictions on the size and number of meets.

    I sounds like NCHSAA was not flexible enough to accomodate UNC's requirements necessitated by the Kenan Stadium renovation to make the State meet happen. I think the Indoor athletes of NC are about to be left out in the cold needlessly when a solution could have been found by moving the date up or back or limiting the field whatever it took to accomodate UNC's needs for fire code or other regulatory restrictions.
  • Jack Rayfield
    jrayfield Edited
    I received a followup response from both UNC and Mr Whitfield. I have to say both sides have responded in a timely manner. I think the real issue with the state meet at UNC is the semi-permanent safety fencing that is required for the equipment moved from Kenan field house. This fencing limits the spectator area available which limits the revenues that a state meet would generate to pay the fee to rent the Eddie Smith Center and pay the cost of the meet.

    I attended two of UNCs meets last year and the attendence at the college meets were about 10% of the attendence at the high school invitational and the state meet. Now I see the dilema that NCHSAA is facing. In these economic times they just can not absorb the expense of a significant loss from staging an NC Indoor Track Championship with limited spectators and UNC can not practically do anything to mitigate this situation. Also the area for athletes waiting to participate would be limited.

    The number of athletes and parents at the state meet probably approaches a couple thousand with the limited space the fire code may limit this number also.

    Now it is up the athletes, coaches and parents to let NCHSAA know that it is unacceptable to not have a indoor state championship meet. The NCHSAA would not even think of not having a championship in Football, Basketball, Baseball or any other sport and since track athletes parents pay property taxes that support the NCHSAA in greater numbers than any other sport our voices should be heard loud and clear "Find a way to have an indoor championship at App, VT, Liberty or Clemson. If you have to change the date, have it during the week, make it two weekends instead of one whatever just do it."

    Here is the Board list and contact emails I would suggest that the concerned parents and coaches email the board members to express our disappointment in the fact that an alternative site has not been selected and arranged as there appear to be at least 4 possibilities plus the renting of warehouse space and a temporary track.
  • Site Admin
    @jrayfield I may be incorrect about this, but I'm pretty sure the NCHSAA does have enough money in its endowment fund to easily absorb the one-time loss associated with operating the state meet this year. However, the idea of drastically limiting the number of spectators that could come into the meet might have been the central issue. I wish they still had the third floor the way it used to be, before they filled it with offices!

    It is remarkable to me that we are this close to the start of the season, and we don't even know whether there will be a championship or not! I can't think of a situation comparable, and I can't imagine that happening in soccer, volleyball, or even swimming (the closest analog to running of all the other sports). Certainly there was uncertainty associated with the location of the cross country state meet last year, but never with the date of the meet or with the fact that there would be a championship!
  • User
    Has anyone thought about contacting App. State about possibly using their facility. My understanding that it is in their Basketball Arena and has lots of room.
  • User
    Mermelade Edited
    @hmlemon As a current high school runner, I thoroughly dislike ASU's indoor track. It is hexagonal and stretches around the basketball stadium, resulting in disorienting blind corners. That's not to say I don't think the meet should be there; However, I think ASU should be a last resort.
  • Jack Rayfield
    jrayfield Edited
    I agree if no other option can be found App would be better than nothing. The spectators at App have to stand between the pillars in the hallway and can only see 1/6 of the track because the track is in the exterior hallway of the convocation center. This a horrible setup for all the running races but it is better than no Championship. Also App has 2 home basketball games on the indoor championship weekend so date would have to be changed which is also ok if absolutely necessary. I think the Boo Williams in Hampton Va, Clemson or Liberty are much better options. I think they should consider each and every option to avoid a "no state meet" result. It seem like NCHSAA has just given up and will use UNC as an excuse. I think that NCHSAA should use its business influence and try to help the Personal Best Sports group to find bank funding or an investor and solve this problem forever by building an indoor facility off of HWY 68 it could certainly be ready by mid Feb according to Coach Cason. This facility would have a much larger usable space than Eddie Smith and would be centrally located with year around event training opportunities. I can not believe that a bank would not provide funding if the NCHSAA supported this project.