NJCAA delays fall/winter sports until January
Following the recommendations from the NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents, the NJCAA has announced its plan of action for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. Following the Board of Regents’ vote on Monday, a majority of athletic competition will be moved to the spring semester.
For North Platte Community College, this moves women’s volleyball to the spring and pushes back the start of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons until January.
Monday’s revised guidelines do allow for fall practices for all teams, including up to five scrimmages. Under the new guidelines, practice for the new spring volleyball season will be permitted to begin Jan. 11, 2021 with competition allowed to start Jan. 28, 2021 and a maximum of 21 competition dates. All regular season, region and district competition must be completed before April 3, 2021.
Practice for the spring men’s and women’s basketball season will start Jan. 11 with competition allowed to begin Jan. 22. Teams are permitted up to 22 games and all games must be completed by April 10.
North Platte Community College Athletic Director Kevin O’Connor reacted to the action taken by the NJCAA.
“As MPCC continues to work to make the fall semester start on time and provide as little disruption as possible, the announcement Monday by the NJCAA to move all sports competition to spring semester was somewhat disappointing,” said O’Connor. “We understand the varying challenges that different regions of the country are facing due to the pandemic, and we believe it was the intent of NJCAA to provide the most fair and equitable opportunity for all without cancelling the seasons altogether.”
O’Connor said the decision created many challenges that will have to be addressed.
“The overlapping of the volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball is going to present transportation issues due to limited buses,” said O’Connor. “With only one gym available and three teams in season at the same time, the scheduling of practices, games, hiring of game staff and set up and tear down of the gym are just few of the obstacles we will need to overcome. I’m sure there will be others, as is often the case, with these types of decisions.”
Despite the challenges, NPCC head volleyball coach Alexa McCall is excited to get the student athletes back on campus.
“Moving our season to the spring will definitely be a different look this year, however, most importantly we want our student-athletes to be safe as well as have the opportunity to compete,” said McCall. “At the end of the day, we want the student-athletes to be able to have a complete season, and the NJCAA feels this is the best way. With our off-season in the fall, we will be able to work with the team, which will be very different than before and will give the freshmen an opportunity to get where they need to be so that our team is ready in January.”