San Bernardino Valley College’s football rematch with state champion Riverside City College could be in jeopardy this season.
But it won’t be played this fall.
SBVC’s women’s soccer team will be sidelined.
All other sports, including SBVC’s perennially solid men’s cross country squad, won’t be hitting those 8-kilometer trails for at least another six months.
When California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) officials shut down its fall schedule Friday, July 10 ⎯ a full week before its scheduled announcement ⎯ it left thousands of athletes from 110 JUCO campuses without a place to play until at least January because of COVID-19.
Pasadena City College President Dr. Erika Endrijonas, the board chair of that campus, echoed disappointment for thousands of athletes on the disruption to the fall schedule.
“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,” said Endrijonas.
Said Jennifer Cardone, CCCAA’s interim director, “We were very hopeful that we could go forth with the Conventional Plan. It’s the closest to what everyone was used to and provides for the least disruption to our student-athletes and colleges.”
That plan would have a normal plan in place beginning next month.
State officials instead adopted Plan No. 4, dubbed the Contingency Plan, which has outlined a fully developed plan that includes Fall, Winter and Spring sports taking place over a period of five months.
“Unfortunately,” said Cardone, “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.”
It might have come as a shock to interested sports watchers. It should’ve been expected. Cardone cited health and safety as the key reasons.
Further bad news: There will be no state championships in any sports. That’s mirrored by the high school federation, which will offer no state finals, either.
A week before the high school federation’s July 20 due date to announce how it will proceed with an athletic calendar, CCCAA officials decided it will proceed in January with significantly slimmed-down schedules and no prospect of state championships in any sports.
CCCAA officials adopted four scenarios in which it would proceed, including Plan No. 1 ⎯ all systems go in August with full-fledged schedules and state championships.
In recent weeks, however, that plan just wasn’t going to work.
Schedules that number 70 percent of its normal slates in order to accommodate three seasons of sports into two seasons.
Because of COVID-19, there are no defending state basketball championships. When the worldwide pandemic struck, Riverside CC was getting set to play Santiago Canyon and East Los Angeles and L.A. Valley was lining up for So Cal Regional semifinals.
On the women’s side, Moorpark-Mt. San Antonio and Ventura-Palomar winners would have led to the state’s Final Four.
Hoops for both men and women will return during a 2021 spring schedule.
SBVC, which has high-achieving success in men’s basketball, women’s soccer, while being highly competitive in football and men’s cross country and soccer, is very affected by the new scheduling.
The Lady Wolverines’ 1-0 loss to San Diego Mesa ended their season in the state semifinals. Mesa lost to Santiago Canyon in the state finals.
SBVC’s men reached the state cross country finals last fall, 10th to San Diego Mesa and American River, which went 1-2 in the championship.
The Wolverines won last year’s football championship, finishing 9-2 after a loss in the AFCA American Division Championship Bowl. SBVC was stepping up into the high-powered National Division this season.
But not until February, which is when football is set to begin a limited schedule.
With it’s Fall schedule now canceled, a three-sport season has, thus, been reduced to just two seasons.