History of the NCHSAA

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Inc., was founded early in the 20th century. And even though the NCHSAA has witnessed dramatic growth in the scope of its programs and has had to deal with the changing face of education, one thing has remained constant: the Association’s commitment to providing a wholesome athletic environment. 

The Association is a voluntary, non-profit corporation which administers the state’s interscholastic athletic program. Any North Carolina public or non-boarding parochial high school is eligible for membership, provided it is accredited by the State Department of Public Instruction and that the school adopts and maintains a prescribed code to guarantee fair competition. 

NCHSAA Beginnings

The University of North Carolina professor Dr. Louis Round Wilson spearheaded the founding of the NCHSAA. In 1912, he approached university president Dr. Francis P. Venable about starting a university Extension Division. After a year of heated debate, a total of $600 was approved for this project, with one-third of that amount earmarked for the beginning of a high school athletic association which would help standardize regulations and ensure fairness. A university committee was to control the association’s operation, which was part of the Extension Division. 

State championships were held in football and track in 1913 and several other sports were added to the program soon thereafter. A chart indicating when sports were added and their inaugural champions is listed elsewhere in the Handbook. 

As the school people of the state desired more direct control of their organization, there was a move to change the way the Association operated. In 1947, a new constitution was adopted, by which the university was relieved from most financial obligations with the NCHSAA but continued to house the Association offices. The new constitution also provided for a Board of Directors as it is presently operating. In June of 2010, the NCHSAA became an independent organization no longer affiliated with the university. 

Important Dates in NCHSAA History


The Association now has 390 member schools and certifies the eligibility of well over 150,000 athletes annually. Other organizations which have contributed greatly to high school athletics in the state have over the years merged with the NCHSAA. Member schools of the North Carolina High School Athletic Conference, the organization for black high schools, joined the Association in 1967. The Western North Carolina High School Activities Associa­tion (WNCHSAA) joined the Association in 1977, leaving one primary body working with high school athletics in North Carolina. 

Six executive directors/commissioner have served the Association since its inception. Those officers, including their years as executive director, include: E.R. Rankin (1924-42); C.E. McIntosh (1943-47); L.J. “Hap” Perry (1948-66); Simon F. Terrell (1967-84), Charles H. Adams (1984-2010) and Davis A. Whitfield. 

The Simon F. Terrell Building, which houses the Association offices, is located adjacent to Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill. It was completed in 1978, and the new wing opened during the 1994-95 academic year.


The North Carolina High School Athletic Association — since 1913, a commitment to excellence.