The National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to move its 2020-21 football season from the fall to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must adjust accordingly to support and sustain NJCAA programs, the association as a whole is collectively working to provide the best opportunities to be successful on and off the field for our student-athletes,” NJCAA president and CEO Christopher J. Parker said in the statement.
The Athletic reported that a spring NJCAA season would have an eight-game schedule from the end of March through May. The NCAA is also seeing significant changes to the upcoming football season. Major conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already decided to only play conference games, while smaller conferences like the Ivy League and the Centennial have already called off the fall season.
Related content: Big Ten Announces Conference-Only Plan for Fall Sports
Similar options were expected to be discussed in a Monday meeting between Southeastern Conference athletic directors. A SEC athletic director recently told Sports Illustrated “I think spring is more viable than fall. What we have currently scheduled is not realistic. If somebody told me we could play conference-only in the fall, that would be great. But I’m not sure we can play one game, let alone a full conference schedule.”
“The direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings,” Sankey said. “How do you minimize the risk? … We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”
Sankey confirmed those sentiments on Twitter, responding to Burns’ tweet by saying he wants “to provide the opportunity for college athletics to be part of the fall, but we need to all consider our behavior to make possible what right now appears very difficult.”
The pandemic has also begun to bleed into basketball season, which typically starts games in November. Jeff Goodman reported Monday’s NJCAA meeting will also include a vote on a proposal for the upcoming junior college basketball season. According to Goodman, if the proposal passes, basketball practices would start Jan. 11, games would start Jan. 22 and teams would play a maximum of 22 games. The NJCAA championships would start April 19, 2021.