(AP) — The National Junior College Athletic Association says it will not have a fall season and will instead attempt to play football and other sports in the spring.
Men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball will also be moved to the spring. Winter sports, such as basketball, will be slated to start in January, with a majority of championship events moved from March to April.
“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO, in a press release on the association’s website. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”
The press release went on to say the cross country and half marathon championships, as well as Division III women’s tennis, would continue as scheduled.
Major college football programs frequently recruit players from the top junior colleges, but without a fall season it will be more complicated for coaches at four-year colleges to evaluate those players.
The Mississippi Association of Community Colleges released a statement Monday after the NJCAA’s annoucement saying it abstained from voting.
“The Region 23 representative to the NJCAA Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of the MACC presidents, voted to abstain from the final vote regarding moving most sports to the spring. While we are very concerned about the health and safety of our student-athletes, personnel, and fans, we believe they are best served by waiting for other conferences and organizations to make a final decision regarding fall sports.”
It was unclear Monday whether or not the MACC could continue with fall sports unsanctioned by the NJCAA. Meridian Community College president Tom Huebner said in a Twitter post, however, that any decision to host sports in the fall would mean Mississippi teams would be unable to compete beyond conference championship rounds.
“We have to abide by the decision if we want to play in post-season national championship games/tournament,” Huebner said.