SACRAMENTO – The CCCAA Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-part plan on Friday to allow the state’s community colleges a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year while being directed by health guidelines from the state of California.
The adopted action calls for immediate implementation of the “Conventional Plan”, which keeps sports in their traditional fall and spring seasons, except for men’s and women’s basketball which move to the spring. On July 17, if it is still unsafe to execute athletics within the Conventional Plan framework, the CCCAA will move to either the Contact/Non-Contact Plan or the Contingency Plan.
The Contact/Non-Contact Plan places men’s and women’s cross country, women’s golf, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and women’s volleyball into the fall while the remaining sports – including football - will start competing in either early February. If not able to enact that plan, the CCCAA will fall back to the Contingency Plan, which keeps cross country and women’s golf in the fall and places the remainder of the sports in the spring.
Sports seasons are reduced from their current lengths in each of the plans. The maximum number of contests are reduced to either 70% of 75% of their current totals, and post-conference competition will be limited to regional championships that must be completed within a week’s time. Regional championship competition is above and beyond the percentage allowed during the regular season. State championships will not be contested during 2020-21 and fans will not be permitted until California moves into Phase 4 of its reopening plan, although once the state permits fans, districts and/or institutions may make their own decisions regarding others at their events.
The Board of Directors adopted plans that were formulated by the COVID-19 Working Group with input and feedback from stakeholders throughout the CCCAA. The Working Group was directed by six Guiding Principles: Health, Safety and Mitigation, Student Opportunity, Budget and Financial Consideration, Equity, Elements of Uncertainty, and Informed Decision-Making.
“There were no easy decisions during this process, but everybody had our 24,000 student-athletes’ best interests in mind,” said Jennifer Cardone, Interim Executive Director. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t peer into a crystal ball and see what lies down the road. However, the plans give us a flexible roadmap that we believe provides the best opportunity for us to get back to providing opportunities for our student-athletes.”
The Conventional Plan is most like traditional sports seasons but is also dependent on the state of California being in Phase 4 of its reopening plan by July 17. Phase 4 is the most open of the state’s reopening plans. The Contact/Non-Contact Plan will be enacted if California is in Phase 3 while the Contingency Plan will be used if the state is in Phase 2. The Working Group will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors after evaluating the state’s health guidelines ahead of July 17.
Here are synopses of each part of the plan. A full description is available here
• Cross country, football, women’s golf, soccer, women’s volleyball, water polo and wrestling will compete during the fall. Competition will begin on Sept. 11 except for football (Sept. 26) and will allow for 75% of the maximum number of contests currently permitted. The season, including any regional championships, will end by Nov. 25.
• All the remaining sports (badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, men’s golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and men’s volleyball) will start competing on Mar. 1 and finish by May 22.
• Cross country, women’s golf, swimming and diving, and women’s volleyball – each considered as Non-Contact or minimal contact sports – will begin competition in mid-September and conclude by Nov. 25. Sports will be permitted 70% of their current maximum number of contests.
• Basketball, football, soccer, water polo and wrestling would begin competition on Feb. 13 and finish by April 17 while all other sports will start competing on April 10 and end by June 23. Volleyball will move to the spring and start competition on Feb. 13, if it is deemed to be unsafe to compete in the fall.
• Only cross country and women’s golf will stay in the fall and all others will go to the spring with regular-season competition capped at 70% of current levels. Basketball, football, soccer, women’s volleyball, water polo and wrestling will start competition in early February and finish by April 17 while the remaining sports will start on April 10 and end by June 23.
Impacts on athletic training, game management and other factors were considered during the decision-making process. Non-traditional sports seasons (e.g., fall baseball, etc.) and showcases will not be conducted in 2020-21. Tournaments, meets and other multi-team competitions will be permitted provided county, district and/or institutional protocols are strictly followed for such events.
Sports will also alter any rules and/or protocols to fit social distancing and any other practices where necessary. The California Community College Athletic Training Association (CCCATA) provided extensive information to the Working Group to help guide a safe return to practice and competition.
“The health and safety of everyone involved with community college athletics – particularly our student-athletes – is paramount to this entire process,” said Cardone. “However, we know the vibrant role intercollegiate athletics play on our campuses, so we wanted to mitigate concerns as much as possible to get our programs back in action.”