The two largest Junior College/Community College athletics organizations in the US, the NJCAA and the California-focused CCCAA, have released proposed contingency plans for moving ahead with the 2020-2021 athletics season. The moves are in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the US, which continues to see new daily records of positive tests.
Junior Colleges are primarily two-year institutions where students can earn associates degrees or prepare to transfer to four-year institutions and earn a bachelor’s degree.
The NJCAA, which includes 525 schools across 24 states, released a plan on June 19 that had all sports starting on a fairly normal schedule, including allowing fall sports to begin practice on August 1.
Now, however, multiple outlets are reporting that the NJCAA will announce on Monday that most sports will not start until at least January of 2021.
In regards to the upcoming academic year, the @NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council has recommended that a majority of competition move to the spring semester of 2021.
An official plan of action will be determined on Monday, July 13.
— NJCAA (@NJCAA) July 9, 2020
Under the prior plan, NJCAA men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams were set to begin practicing on October 1, 2020 with competition permitted to begin on October 30, 2020. That prior plan “encouraged” teams to “adjust schedules as needed” to limit competition between the Thanksgiving holiday and January 1, 2021.
This move follows in the footsteps of many other collegiate sports organizations doing the same. Delaying or canceling fall athletics has become a trend in Division III athletics, while this week the Ivy League became the first Division I conference to announce that it would not have any collegiate competition until at least January 1.
The NJCAA Swimming & Diving Championships typically take place in early March. In 2020, that means the league was able to complete its swimming & diving championship, while none of the NCAA divisions were. Indian River swept the men’s and women’s team titles, giving the men their 46th-straight NJCAA championship and the Indian River women won their 38th-straight NJCAA championship.
The California Community College Athletic Association has 108 schools as members, all in the state of California, with over 26,000 student-athletes participating.
The CCCAA includes men’s and women’s swimming & diving and men’s and women’s water polo programs as part of its sport offerings.
On Thursday, the CCCAA Board of Directors “overwhelmingly” approved its Contingency plan that will shift all sports, including football, to the spring season.
The plan activated is one of 3 proposed in June. The most ambitious plans kept almost everything (with the exception of basketball) on a normal calendar, but that was dependent on the state of California progressing further in its reopening plan by mid-July.
The plan chosen, which was tweaked from the original one proposed in July, will move all sports to the spring. Previous plans had cross country and women’s golf seasons still being held in the fall.
Under the plan, the spring season will be split in half. Some sports, including men’s and women’s water polo, will begin practice in mid-January and begin competition in February. The remaining sports, including swimming & diving, will start practice in late March and begin competition on April 10.
As part of the plan, all sports will have a 30% reduction in the maximum number of permitted contests or competitions dates, and post-season competition will be moved to a regional format. There will be no CCCAA championships, referred to as “state championships,” in the 2020-2021 season.
New Maximum Competition Dates/Games:
- Swimming & Diving – 8 meets (reduced from 11)
- Water Polo – 13 dates (reduced from 18)
The men’s and women’s CCCAA water polo championships were originally scheduled for November 20-21, while the swimming & diving championships are usually held in late April or early May. The 2020 swimming & diving championships were canceled this year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
California is one of a number of states that has seen a recent spike in new daily coronavirus cases. According to data collected by the New York Times, the state has seen around 7,900 new cases daily over the last week, which is about triple the rate the state saw at the beginning of June.