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Sports might begin in spring

The California Community College Athletic Association permits competition with some reservations.

By Gene Wickham, Staff Writer

Monarchs play against their rival, Glendale College, in their last home football game of 2019. (Photo by Gene Wickham/The Valley Star, File Photo)

After shutting down all sports in mid-March and issuing a mandate in July, the CCCAA is allowing California Community Colleges to begin a modified sports season in the spring — depending on their local health situation.

“The CCCAA will ask each of the colleges in the state to ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ around the end of November,” said Jim Fenwick, the Valley athletic director, “which allows each school and school district to evaluate their particular situations as to the restrictions and guidelines of returning students to campus safely and resources for testing and tracing students, both in budget and personnel.”

In the case of Valley College and other LACCD schools, they are waiting to hear from the LA County Health Department’s review, which will then be disseminated through the Chancellor's office to Valley President Barry Gribbons and finally to all campus athletic personnel.

With every California Community College expecting a decision at the end of October, the CCCAA finally released a statement on Nov. 6 allowing California Community Colleges to begin sports in the spring. Fenwick called the decision a “work in progress” as the resolutions are now in the school and district's hands.

“We will work with our chancellor, through our president, to see when or if we can move forward,” he said. “Hopefully, we will have direction around the first of December.”

If LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez approves the plan, sports would begin on Jan. 18 with competition shortly after. Normally in the fall, football, men’s and women’s water polo and women’s soccer compete. In the winter, men’s and women’s basketball plays and in the spring baseball, softball, swimming and diving concludes the spring season.

According to the CCCAA schedule, the “early spring season” will include basketball, football, women's soccer and water polo, and will begin on Jan. 18. and conclude April 17. The “late spring” season will start on March 27 and conclude on June 23. Valley baseball, softball, swimming and diving will compete in this second half of the spring semester.

All sports have been awaiting word since the spring to return. Because of COVID-19, no teams have been allowed on campus and team meetings have been restricted to Zoom, with athletes involved with personal conditioning only. The local and national pandemic is expected to dramatically increase in the next couple of months and a clearer view of January by the first week of December should offer better perspectives.

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