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East Mississippi quarterback Connor Neville throws a pass during the Lions' Oct. 3, 2019 game against Northwest Mississippi in Scooba.

The NJCAA announced in a statement Thursday it has recommended that a majority of competition be played in the spring semester of the 2020-21 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recommendation was made by the 14-member NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council — including Meridian Community College president Tom Huebner — along with NJCAA president and CEO Dr. Christopher J. Parker and NJCAA board chair Mick McDaniel.

Rules and procedures are being finalized, according to the statement, with an official plan of action set to be determined at the NJCAA Board of Regents meeting Monday. Individual regions, such as Region 23, which houses East Central, East Mississippi and Meridian Community College, will discuss the changes prior to the meeting. 

“We must adjust accordingly to support and sustain NJCAA programs,” Parker said in the statement. “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.”

The NJCAA last month released measures for returning to athletics in the fall, which included delaying start dates for fall sports, and pushing up start dates for winter sports in an effort to finish competition by Thanksgiving break. The MACJC member presidents voted two weeks ago to delay the start of the football regular season to Sept. 10 and play an eight-game schedule instead of nine.

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