The National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to vote on Monday to move its season to the spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Athletic.
The decision will allow teams to start preseason practices on March 1, with an eight-game regular season starting at the end of the month and running through May. It will impact 512 schools, 54 of which have football programs, across 45 states in the country.
If the vote passes, according to ESPN, other fall and winter sports also will be adjusted. Men and women’s basketball will start practice on Jan. 11 and start their seasons later that month. Volleyball, wrestling, track and swimming will start on Jan. 4.
“This plan gives our student-athletes the best opportunity to have as much of a quality season in the spring for all sports, while also allowing some time and engagement when allowed by their individual institutions in the fall,” said NJCAA president and CEO Dr. Christopher Parker, via ESPN.
The California Community College Athletic Association also approved a vote on Thursday to move all of its 24 sports to the spring.
The decision will mark just the latest schedule adjustment due to the coronavirus in the college sports world. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced that they will play conference-only schedules this fall. The Big 12 and the ACC will make their decisions about scheduling later this month, and the SEC’s decision is expected to be made in the “coming weeks.” The Ivy League canceled all fall sports completely, too.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t optimistic about the upcoming season, either, saying on Saturday that his concern level is “high to very high” and that “we need to all consider our behavior” if we want sports to be played this year.
“We are running out of time to correct and get things right,” Sankey said, “and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”
There were more than 3.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 135,000 deaths attributed to it. The country set a single-day record on Friday, too, recording more than 68,000 new cases.
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