NSAF Makes ‘Heartbreaking’ Decision to Cancel 2020 Outdoor Nationals

by Steve Underwood


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – June 16, 2020 - With its motto “Opening Doors to the World Through Track & Field,” the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation has been the leader in high school track & field for over 3 decades.  Since the first national indoor meet in 1984, the Foundation has created and managed the finest national championship events in scholastic sports. Most of America’s greatest high school track & field athletes have competed in the NSAF’s championships over the past 37 years, including 323 who later competed in the Olympics, winning 148 Olympic Medals.

Thus, it is with great sadness that the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation has made the decision to cancel the 2020 NSAF Outdoor Nationals, which had been tentatively scheduled to take place July 30-August 2 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, S.D., due to the continued impact of COVID-19.

“The NSAF Board recognizes and applauds the incredible commitment and effort that the athletes, coaches, support staffs, and their families dedicate to our sport and becoming everything they can be in and through track and field. And it is heartbreaking that we will not be able to reward them by hosting the national outdoor championships this year, as we have done every year since 1991,” said NSAF Executive Director Jim Spier, director of the meet since its inception. “It’s been our mission to provide this year’s athletes that same special national championship experience – especially in this COVID-19 year when so much has already been taken away from them.”

“But we have to hold ourselves to the highest standard, and certain ‘boxes’ absolutely had to be checked in order to safely host the meet,” he continued, “and we could not with absolute certitude check all of those boxes. We determined that it is not possible to conduct the Championships at the level we and the athletes, coaches, and parents from around the country expect of the NSAF.”

“We needed to guarantee that every one of the several thousand athletes, coaches, and officials would be able to get the 2 COVID-19 tests within 7 days prior to their last day of competition at the Championships, necessary to meet the recommendations and guidelines established by USA Track & Field in cooperation with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee for the level of meet we wanted to host,” said Dr. Rob Jones, longtime NSAF Medical Director, “and we could not do so.”

“As a former collegiate pole vaulter, I understand as well as anyone, how important it is to compete in ‘The Nationals,’ said Dr. Jones. “But as a doctor and a parent, I also understand health and safety; and the health and well-being of our athletes, coaches, and officials, and their families must always come before athletic opportunity … and unfortunately that is the situation we and the world face right now. We, like many others, just pray that next year will see a return to normalcy and the NSAF will now refocus our efforts on making the 2021 Championships and our other events and programs the best ever.”


CONTACT: Steve Underwood, Director of Media & Public Relations, NSAF

About the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation, Inc.

The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) was founded in 1990. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of opening doors to the world for our youth, through athletics, and providing them opportunities to succeed. That includes supporting high school and junior-aged track and field athletes in the US through national high school competitions, including the New Balance Nationals Indoor and Outdoor; The Great American XC Festival and HBCU Challenge; and the American Javfest and Ironwood Throws Classic. It also includes Team NSAF international competition and team-building events in Cuba and Iceland; clinics and event-specific special projects, such as Project Javelin Gold and Project Triple Jump; vigorous grant programs, which enable high school athletes to compete around the country, at USATF Junior Nationals, and internationally; and with program development grants, which are awarded in the winter and fall each year. The NSAF provides approximately $250,000 in grants annually.  For more information about the NSAF, please visit NationalScholastic.org.


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