(KLTV) - Because of COVID-19, many East Texas junior college sports are now on hold.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is allowing schools to host their fall and winter sports seasons in the spring semester for the upcoming school year.
“You’ll have football in March, April, and May and the championship in June,” said Tim Drain describing the new NJCAA schedule, if schools choose to participate in it.
The NJCAA is shifting all close-contact fall sports to the spring semester.
“I know it’s going to be difficult; some student athletes will have to make difficult decisions about transferring out after the fall semester or what might that happen,” said Kevin Vest, the athletic director for Tyler Junior College. “I think that’s our message, that we’re going to work every day to provide the same opportunity and the same level of commitment we’ve always had to our student athletes."
In a vote Monday afternoon, the NJCAA board of regents made the decision to shift the seasons back.
Tim Drain is the Region 14 representative — which covers East Texas — he voted yes.
“I know I represent, but that was literally sending to every single athletic director in our region; give me your thoughts, give me your concerns and ideas,” said Drain. “I think across the board, I don’t recall anybody telling me I don’t think this is the right move."
Football, soccer and indoor volleyball move to the spring. Basketball, wrestling, swimming, and diving start in Janurary and have championships in April instead of March.
Cross country, half marathon and Division III women’s tennis are staying with their originally scheduled dates. Bowling and indoor track and field will be held at the beginning of March.
Now that the national body has outlined their plan, East Texas schools will have to make tough decisions.
“If we can come up with a system to keep our student athletes safe and all the fans and referees safe, I think it’ll be fine,” said Nick Wade, Angelina College head men’s basketball coach. “But, this isn’t going to look normal and I think everybody knows that.”
According to Drain, schools will have to make their decision about whether or not they will compete within the new schedule by July 27th, two weeks from Monday.
From the NJCAA:
Following the recommendations from the NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents, the NJCAA has announced its adjusted plan of action for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. Following the Board of Regents’ vote on Monday, a majority of competition will be moved to the spring semester.
“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”
The most recent plan of action shifts all close-contact fall sports to the spring semester. These sports include football, men’s and women’s soccer, and court volleyball. The NJCAA cross country championships for all three divisions and half marathon championships will remain as their originally scheduled dates in the fall as well as Division III women’s tennis.
All winter sports competition will begin in January with a majority of championship seasons moved from March to April. These sports include men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, and swimming and diving. Men’s and women’s bowling and men’s and women’s indoor track and field will be held at the beginning of March.
Spring sports competition remains intact with minor adjustments to dates. These sports include baseball, softball, beach volleyball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, track and field, and men’s and women’s tennis.
Along with the adjustments to competition season and championship dates, the NJCAA has provided information as it relates to scrimmage and practice dates and allowances in the fall.
Championship dates are subject to change based on championship facility availability.