Outdoor Nationals, the preeminent outdoor high schol national track and field championship meet that since 2011 has been sponsored by New Balance and orchestrated by the National Scholastics Athletics Foundation, is potentially moving to Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2020. The meet is still tentatively scheduled for July 30 through August 2.
In early May, New Balance opted out of its contract with NSAF, forcing a title-change.
On Thursday, the NSAF announced its decision to move its Outdoor Nationals meet from North Carolina A&T University, the long-time site of NBNO, to Howard Wood Field, a 10,000-seat stadium located on the campus of Augustana University. The facility has undergone multiple upgrades in the last two decades, including the installation of a new press box and more seating.
The decision to move away from the Greensboro, North Carolina facility was forced upon NSAF, as North Carolina A&T's campus has been closed for months due to precautions over the coronavirus.
Every hurdle hasn't been crossed just yet.
The NSAF is still studying the landscape of competitive sports and the potential of holding a meet of this magnitude in a state such as South Dakota. Many states are still under specific guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, though South Dakota hasn't been hit nearly as hard, with just just over 5,000 positive cases.
Since March, when New Balance Nationals Indoor was canceled due to precautions over coronavirus, sports grounded to a halt.
In recent weeks, modified guidelines in some states have allowed athletics to resume, and that has been good news for track and field fans. In May, a historic mile race -- which was covered by MileSplit -- took place in California and featured some of the country's top athletes.
The NSAF says it will make a final decision on the meet no later than June 15 after a meeting between its Board of Directors. The decision to hold the meet will be based on these reported factors:
2. The decision will be based on a number of factors, including the following:
- a. Compliance with USATF sanctions and guidelines, which are intended to ensure the maximum safety and well-being of athletes, officials, and spectators.
- b. The advice and recommendations from our NSAF Medical Director, based on consultation with various government and private infectious disease experts, including those at the CDC.
- c. The ability of Sioux Falls to implement protocols required to ensure the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators.
The new dates will come up against potential conflicts with other national meets such as the AAU Junior Olympics, which is also currently debating the overall scope of its meet and activities.