CCCAA Board moving forward with contingency plan for the return of school athletics

Moorpark+Wide+Receiver+Zach+Jones+is+pushed+out+of+bounds+by+Ventura+Defensive+Back+Keeven+Ross+but+brings+the+Raiders+a+first+down+during+the+52nd+annual+Citrus+cup+against+Ventura+College+on+Oct.+27+at+Moorpark+College.+Photo+credit%3A+Ryan+Bough

Moorpark Wide Receiver Zach Jones is pushed out of bounds by Ventura Defensive Back Keeven Ross but brings the Raiders a first down during the 52nd annual Citrus cup against Ventura College on Oct. 27 at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Mitchell Ross

When the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) suspended school athletics in March, many wondered if they would ever return during this global COVID-19 pandemic.

In July, the CCCAA drew up a contingency plan detailing return dates for school athletics but sports have yet to make a comeback.

Student-athletes, coaches and support staff have since been concerned about the return of spring athletics. Many have been pushing for the CCCAA to rule on a decision for the spring return since they shut down athletic operations earlier this year.

Well, student-athletes and coaches need to worry no more.

Carolyn Quandt, 7, juggles the ball over Oxnard College's goalie during Moorpark's game against Oxnard College on Tuesday, Oct. 15 Quandt proceeded to maneuver around the goalie and finish with an easy goal. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt
Carolyn Quandt, 7, juggles the ball over Oxnard College's goalie during Moorpark's game against Oxnard College on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Quandt proceeded to maneuver around the goalie and finish with an easy goal. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The CCCAA Board of Directors met on Nov. 6 and passed a plan that closely resembles the July plan with additional stipulations.

The CCCAA Sports contingency plan includes a framework for fall semester sports season beginning in Jan. at a smaller portion of the regularly scheduled games.

Only in-conference competition would be permitted and all regional postseason competitions would be cancelled.

The CCCAA plans for schools to play up to 70% of their existing schedules and schools will also need to opt-in or out of the spring athletics season in accordance with local jurisdiction.

For example, if Ventura County is still in the red zone for COVID-19 mitigation and outbreak, they may or may not be able to play in the spring.

The CCCAA will work with institutions to reschedule games or temporarily move schools to different conferences based on the number of schools that opt-in and out of spring competition. There is no opt-in date as of yet, but CCCAA officials will establish those deadlines in the coming weeks.

In addition, student-athletes will be issued a waiver before the season begins, stating that the 2020-2021 fall and spring semesters will not count against their athletic eligibility and that should no competitions take place, students must still meet the academic requirements to be a student-athlete.

Mason Johnson makes a move toward the hoop as he tries to lessen Moorpark’s deficit against Ventura College late in the game on Saturday, January 18.  Ventura defeated Moorpark 97-91. Photo credit: Jace Kessler
Mason Johnson makes a move toward the hoop as he tries to lessen Moorpark’s deficit against Ventura College late in the game on Saturday, January 18. Ventura defeated Moorpark 97-91. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

The entire contingency plan hinges on the understanding that the CCCAA will need to implement adequate testing protocols and procedures in order for a spring term of athletic completion to play out.

Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director at Taft College, echoed the sentiment on testing.

“Without testing, we do not compete. I think we all know that,” Brandy said.

The hope is the CCCAA will be able to provide low-cost testing to all California community colleges for the spring term and beyond.

“We need to give our students hope and opportunity,” said Coach John Beam of Laney College during the public comment section of the meeting. “They are floundering out there and they need to know that we care about them.”

Beam was not the only one to express his concern.

Coach R. Todd Littlejohn from Bakersfield College was concerned with how the ruling would affect both the physical and the academic sides of the ball.

“If we do not play, we may lose many men and women academically,” said Littlejohn. “Football players won’t have had pads on for two years if they don’t play. It puts their physical safety at risk.”

Though the Board passed a motion on the contingency plan moving forward, much is still up in the air on the topic of spring athletics.

Many colleges may not be able to compete due to the judgment of local health officials. This could cause a cascading list of issues from rescheduling conference games to realigning conferences.

The Board did not mention a hypothetical outbreak. Perhaps it is just speculation, but it is unknown how the CCCAA would respond to the COVID-19 outbreak among their athletes.

Much is still unknown and the board has a long way to go to prepare for a potential spring sports season, but things are moving in the right direction.