Mark the date, July 17.

If the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors feels that it’s unsafe to execute a regular sports calendar there are three plans created to coincide with the three remaining stages of the California Reopening Plan ⎯ conventional, contact and non-contact and contingency.

Part of those plans, all based on health guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, could move football to a February 2021 opening date while basketball could see a springtime schedule.

The state’s CCCAA leadership will make that determination on July 17, which is considered a hard deadline for the 2020-21 athletic season.

“There were no easy decisions during this process, but everybody had our 24,000 student-athletes’ best interests in mind,” said Jennifer Cardone, CCCAA 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.”

All plans come underneath health guidelines provided by the state.

A three-part plan that would send football, plus both men’s and women’s basketball into a February 2021 start date ⎯ part of either a contact/non-contact plan, or the contingency plan.

A conventional plan would keep sports in their traditional fall and spring season, except for men’s and women’s basketball, which will move to the spring months.

It should be noted that state championships will not be contested in any sports for 2020-21. Fans won’t be allowed until California moves into Phase 4 of its reopening plan. Once the state allows fans, districts or their institutions would be allowed to make their own decisions regarding attendance.

Post-conference competition will be limited to regional championships that must be completed within a week’s time. Regional championships are beyond the percentage of events allowed during the regular season.

The CCCAA’s board of directors adopted the following plans that were formulated by the COVID-19 Working Group.

All community colleges, including area campuses San Bernardino Valley, Riverside City, Chaffey and Mt. San Jacinto colleges, are part of the CCCAA.

Six factors were part of the guiding principles: Health, safety and mitigation, student opportunity, budget and financial consideration, equity, elements of uncertainty and informed decision-making.

CONVENTIONAL PLAN

This plan follows the most traditional sports seasons but it’s dependent on whether or not California is at Phase 4 of its reopening plan by July 17.

Cross country, football, women’s golf, soccer, women’s volleyball, water polo and wrestling will compete during fall months. Competition will begin on Sept. 11, except for a Sept. 26 football start.

The season, which allows for 75 percent maximum number of contests usually permitted, would conclude by Nov. 25. That includes any regional championships.

All the remaining sports ⎯ badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, men’s golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and men’s volleyball ⎯ would include a March 1-May 22 season.

CONTACT/NON-CONTACT PLAN

This plan would be enacted if California is in Phase 3 of its reopening.

Non-contact or minimal contact sports ⎯ cross country, women’s golf, swimming and diving, and women’s volleyball ⎯ would proceed from mid-September through Nov. 25. Some 75 percent of their maximum contests would be allowed.

From Feb. 13-April 17, schedules for basketball, football, soccer, water polo and wrestling would begin.

All other sports would operate from April 10-June 23.

Footnote on volleyball: If it’s deemed to be unsafe this fall, it would start on Feb. 13.

CONTINGENCY PLAN

Only cross-country and women’s golf will remain on a fall schedule.

All others would move to spring schedules, capped at 70 percent.

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 ⎯ for instance, fall baseball ⎯ and showcases won’t be conducted in 2020-21.

Tournaments, meets and other multi-team competitions will be allowed under certain health conditions.

Social distancing will likely alter any sports to comply with rules and protocols.

The CCCAA Training Association provided extensive information to the Working Group to help guide a safe return to practice and competition. 

Cardone said, “The health and safety of everyone involved with community college athletics ⎯ particularly our student-athletes ⎯ is paramount to this entire process.”

“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.”

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