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Community College Athletics: CCCAA moves all sports to 2021

Community College Athletics: CCCAA moves all sports to 2021

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Napa Valley College volleyball

Napa Valley College's Olivia Herrick prepares to dig a Contra Costa hit during Wednesday night's match.

Napa Valley College will begin playing six sports in February and three in March — but none until then.

The California Community College Athletic Association Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved implementation of its contingency plan Thursday, providing a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year that shifts all sports to the first half of 2021, according to a statement posted at cccaasports.org on Thursday.

“The contingency plan was among three potential scenarios approved by the board in early June,” the statement reads. “Each plan was wholly dependent on which phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic the state of California was in on the CCCAA’s previously announced July 17 decision date. The return to athletics in January will only occur if it is safe to do so, a decision that will be guided primarily by state and local health guidelines.”

The sports offered by NVC include volleyball, women’s golf, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer, which are all scheduled to start practices Jan. 18 and compete from Feb. 5 through April 17. The Storm’s other three sports are softball, baseball and men’s golf and are slated to have practices beginning March 27 and wrap up by June 23.

“The most ambitious was the conventional plan, which kept all sports except men’s and women’s basketball in their traditional places on the calendar,” the statement continued. “However, it was reliant on California being in Phase 4 of its reopening by mid-July, a likelihood that’s diminished in recent weeks. The board, based on a recommendation from the CCCAA’s COVID-19 Work Group, decided to approve immediate implementation of the contingency plan rather than wait for July 17.”

For the NVC baseball team, which played its last game on March 12, it means a 13-month hiatus between competition.

“I know I speak for the entire CCCAA Board that moving fall athletics to spring 2021 is a huge disappointment,” said Dr. Erika Endrijonas, CCCAA board chair and president of Pasadena City College in the statement. “However, the need to keep our student-athletes and the amazing coaches and athletic trainers who work with them safe was simply the only option available with the virus spiraling out of control across the state.”

All sports will have a 30% reduction in the maximum number of contests or competition dates than they are currently permitted, the statement read, and will have regional postseason competition but no state championships.

“We were very hopeful that we could go forth with the conventional plan,” said Interim CCCAA Executive Director Jennifer Cardone in the statement. “It’s the closest to what everyone is used to and provides for the least disruption to our student-athletes and colleges.

“Unfortunately, California’s reopening progress has slowed, and it’s become apparent that we would not be in position to put it into action on July 17. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staffs are our top priorities. While the contingency plan has the most drastic changes, it’s also the one that provides us the best opportunity to return to competition.”

The board will still meet July 17 to address issues related to the decision as well as other scheduled agenda items. The CCCAA has 110-member colleges and approximately 24,000 student-athletes.

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