North Carolina High School Athletic Association
Legal statusAssociation
Headquarters222 Finley Golf Course Rd.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27515
Region servedNorth Carolina
Official languagesEnglish
AffiliationsNational Federation of State High School Associations

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) is the governing organization of high school athletics in North Carolina, United States. The association maintains the official rule books and governs the officiating standards across the state.[1]

The NCHSAA organizes member schools into conferences and oversees the state championships for each of the sanctioned sports. The NCHSAA headquarters is located at 222 Finley Golf Course Road, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The mailing address for the NCHSAA is PO Box 3216, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27515.

History[edit | edit source]

The NCHSAA was founded in 1913 by Dr. Louis Round Wilson, a professor at the University of North Carolina. The University served as the primary source of funding and leadership for the Association from 1913 through 1947 before the organization adopted its current model, which provides school administrators with direct influence through the presence of the NCHSAA Board of Directors. The NCHSAA remained affiliated with UNC until 2010 when it became an independent organization.

The first state playoffs were held in the Association's inaugural year in both football and track. Baseball (1914), Basketball (1915), and Tennis (1916) were added over the next three athletic seasons, and the organization has sponsored 16 different sports throughout its history, including: Soccer (1927), Wrestling (1938), Golf (1938), Swimming (1950), Cross Country (1956), Slow-Pitch Softball (1975), Volleyball (1976), Indoor Track (1987), Fast-Pitch Softball (1994) and Lacrosse (2010). Women's athletics were introduced in 1969, and there are currently 13 sports offered for men and 10 for women.[2]

Organization[edit | edit source]

The high schools in the state are organized (since 1929) into classifications by the size of the student population. Prior to 1929 all schools played in a single "open" format and postseason play was decided within "east" and "west" regions by meetings of school administrators. The east versus west postseason approach continues to this day. In 1929 the NCHSAA split schools into "Class A" and "Class B," generally by school size.

Due to this and other factors, 36 schools in the Piedmont and western foothills of the state broke away in 1929 and formed their own association, the Western North Carolina High School Activities Association or WNCHSAA. This association grew to as many as 44 high schools, including many of the most successful high school athletics programs in the state. The WNCHSAA merged back into the NCHSAA in 1977.

The NCHSAA, due to segregation, also did not include African-American high schools. These schools played in the North Carolina High School Athletics Conference (NCHSAC) until 1971.

Several other changes occurred to NCHSAA classifications between 1929 and 1958, which eventually went to three classifications. In 1959 due to significant growth and consolidation, the member schools were split into four classifications, identified by 1A, 2A, 3A, & 4A. 4A is made up of the largest schools, and 1A the smallest. Prior to 1993, a set minimum enrollment number delineated each school's classification. In 1993, the schools were split so that approximately 25% of the schools were in each of the four classifications. However a new approach was instituted in 2017 known as the 20-30-30-20 model, with the largest 20% in the 4A classification and the smallest 20% in the 1A classification. The middle 60% is split between 2A and 3A. This model has already received considerable criticism for the unbalanced classes. The classifications are reordered every four years based on updated student population numbers.

Team sports have a separate state championship competition and title for each of the classifications. The only exceptions are cases in which the 1A & 2A classifications are combined, or in football, where each classification is separated into a single "A" and double "A" (AA) classification, with the double "A" classification being made up of larger schools than the single "A".

Each classification has a number of conferences for local play. Some conferences have teams from two different classifications.

Sports[edit | edit source]

NCHSAA sanctions the following sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Wrestling.

Many North Carolina schools, particularly in urbanized areas, have programs in field hockey and gymnastics, but these sports are currently not sanctioned by the NCHSAA.

Conferences[edit | edit source]

These are the conference alignments starting with the 2017-2018 school year. With minor adjustments to accommodate new schools, these alignments will remain through the 2020-2021 school year.[3]

4A[edit | edit source]

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All schools located in Raleigh, North Carolina

Central Piedmont

Schools located in Davie and Forsyth counties


Schools located in Iredell and Mecklenburg counties


Schools located in Guilford County

Northern Athletic

Schools located northeastern Wake County and northern Johnston County

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Schools located in the Sandhills region between Fayetteville and the South Carolina border

South Meck 7

Schools located in Mecklenburg County

South Wake

Schools located in southern Wake County


Schools located in Mecklenburg and Union counties

Triangle 6

Schools located in western Wake County and Durham


3A–4A[edit | edit source]

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Eastern Carolina

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Patriot Athletic


3A[edit | edit source]

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Big East
Big Eight
Big South
Greater Neuse

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North Piedmont
Piedmont Triad
South Piedmont
Southern Carolina
Tri-County 6
Western Mountain Athletic


2A[edit | edit source]

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Central Carolina
East Central
  • Clinton High School, "Dark Horses"
  • East Duplin High School, "Panthers"
  • Goldsboro High School, "Cougars"
  • James Kenan High School, "Tigers"
  • Midway High School (North Carolina)|Midway High School]], "Raiders"
  • Spring Creek High School]], "Gators"
  • Wallace-Rose Hill High School, "Bulldogs"
Eastern Carolina
Eastern Plains
Mountain Six

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Northeastern Coastal
Northwestern Foothills
Pac 7
Rocky River
South Fork Athletic
Southwestern Athletic
Western Piedmont Athletic


1A–2A[edit | edit source]

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Coastal 8
Mountain Valley
Northern Carolina

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Three Rivers
  • East Bladen High School (2A), "Eagles"
  • Fairmont High School (2A), "Golden Tornadoes"
  • Red Springs High School (2A), "Red Devils"
  • South Columbus High School (2A), "Stallions"
  • St. Pauls High School (2A), "Bulldogs"
  • West Bladen High School (2A), "Knights"
  • Whiteville High School (2A), "Wolfpack"
  • East Columbus High School (1A), "Gators"
  • South Robeson High School (1A), "Mustangs"
  • West Columbus High School (1A), "Vikings"
Western Highlands


1A[edit | edit source]

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Albemarle Athletic
Atlantic 6
Central Tar Heel
Coastal Plains
North Central Athletic

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Smoky Mountain
Southern Piedmont
Tar Roanoke
  • KIPP Pride High School, "Panthers"
  • North Edgecombe High School, "Warriors"
  • Northampton County High School, "Jaguars"
  • Northwest Halifax High School, "Vikings"
  • Rocky Mount Prep, "Jaguars"
  • Southeast Halifax High School, "Trojans"
  • Weldon High School, "Chargers"
Yadkin Valley


Awards[edit | edit source]

The NCHSAA Player of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the best male and female high school athletes in North Carolina:[4]

Year Male Female
1985–86 Patrick Lennon, Whiteville HS Pam Doggett, Dudley HS
1986–87 Robert Siler, Jordan-Matthews HS Andrea Stinson, North Mecklenburg HS
1987–88 Chester McGlockton, Whiteville HS LeAnn Kennedy, Trinity HS
1988–89 Ethan Albright, Grimsley HS Danyel Parker, Clinton HS
1989–90 David Inman, Terry Sanford HS Karen Davis, Forbush HS
1990–91 Mike Kendall, Albermarle HS Christy Cagel, Hayesville HS
1991–92 Rusty LaRue, Northwest Guilford HS Wendy Palmer, Person County HS
1992–93 Tyrone Westmoreland, South Iredell HS Holly Hill, Southwest Randolph HS
1993–94 Brian Roseboro, T.W. Andrews HS Jamie Parsons, Millbrook HS
1994–95 Na Brown, Reidsville HS Aedrin Murray, Chatham Central HS
1995–96 Titcus Pettigrew, West Forsyth HS Shea Ralph, Terry Sanford HS
1996–97 Tyrell Godwin, East Bladen HS Jackie Houston, Kings Mountain HS
1997–98 Julius Peppers, Southern Nash HS Clifeteana McKiver, East Duplin HS
1998–99 Nick Maddox, A.L. Brown HS Anna Tharrington, Southern Nash HS
1999–2000 Manny DeShauteurs, Brevard HS Courtney Willis, Terry Sanford HS
2000–01 Derrele Mitchell, R.J. Reynolds HS Molly Pyles, Hendersonville HS
2001–02 A.J. Davis, Northern Davis HS Katrelle Armwood, Durham School of the Arts
2002–03 Drew Williamson, Cummings HS Anna Evans, Lumberton HS
2003–04 Jim Ollis, Polk County HS Eva Baucom, Forest Hills HS
2004–05 Terrell Hudgins, Rocky Mount HS Jesse Sims, West Henderson HS
2005–06 Andres Arroyo, North Mecklenberg HS Megan Zullo, Farmville Central
2006–07 Dee Bost, Concord Gabby Mayo, Southeast Raleigh
2007–08 E.J. Abrams-Ward, Thomasville Janetta Robinson, Pender
2008–09 Tyler Shatley, East Burke Ali Ford, Freedom
2009–10 Kareem Martin, Roanoke Rapids Leah Mackley, Pender
2010–11 Romar Morris, Shelby Courtney Melvin, East Bladen
2011–12 Tevin Hester, Granville Central Lindsay Page Simpson, Franklin
2012–13 TJ Logan, Northern Guilford Hailey Cook, Hendersonville
2013–14 Marquavious Johnson, Knightdale Blake Dodge, West Carteret

Hall of fame[edit | edit source]

The North Carolina High School Sports Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for high school athletics in North Carolina. It is administered by the NCHSAA and includes coaches, officials, broadcasters and others who have supported high school athletics in the state. The hall was created in 1987 with Bob Jamieson of Greensboro, Leon Brogden of Wilmington, and Dave Harris of Charlotte as charter members.[5]

As of 2012, 125 members have been inducted.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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