Athletic Association Shifts Start of Fall Sports

July 17, 2020 | ,

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has pushed back competitive, close-contact sports slated for this fall to the spring semester.

At East Central College, that means that the men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball seasons, will be played in the spring 2021, instead of this fall.

The NJCAA Board of Regents voted July 13, to adjust the sport season schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The change impacts other sports that are not offered at ECC, including football.

There will be minimal impact to the spring 2021 Softball Falcon’s season.

Teams may begin practicing in the fall but they must follow a timeline approved by the NJCAA.

“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA president and CEO.

“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,” he added.

According to Dr. Jay Mehrhoff, ECC athletic director, student athletes will undergo COVID-19 education, hold team meetings and have concussion testing conducted before practices begin.

Listed below are tentative start and end times for practices, regular season games and tournaments:

Men’s and Women’s Soccer — fall practices can start after Aug. 15. ECC plans to start practices Aug. 30, after the first week of classes.  ECC plans to end practices Oct. 30.

Spring practices start March 15, 2021, and games will start April 2, 2021. There will be a 14-game regular season to be completed before May 15. Regional tournaments to begin May 17, 2021.

Women’s Volleyball — fall practices can start after Aug. 15. ECC plans to start practices Aug. 30, after first week of classes.  ECC plans to end practices Oct. 30. There could be adjustments to the schedule and begin practices later, such as Sep. 15, and end by Nov. 15, according to Mehrhoff.

Spring practices begin Jan.11, 2021, and games begin Jan. 29, 2021. There will be 21 days that regular season games will be played, to be completed before March 24, 2021, and a regional tournament scheduled for March 26-27, 2021.

Softball — fall practices can begin after Sept. 5. Spring practices can start Jan. 10, 2021.  Games can start Jan, 22, 2021. Regular season must be completed by May 4, 2021, and a regional tournament is slated for May 7- 8, 2021.  Games will be played on 27 days, a 10 percent reduction from previous years, Mehrhoff said.