The NJCAA announced Monday that a majority of 2020 competition will be moved to the spring semester.
For Three Rivers, the move primarily affects Three Rivers basketball. Softball and baseball schedules, which were spring sports to begin with, are impacted to a lesser degree. Rodeo was not included in the plan of action as it is not an NJCAA sport.
Basketball games can begin Jan. 21 and all regular season, region and district competition must be completed by April 10, with the national tournament to starting April 19.
Basketball teams can now play a maximum of 22 games instead of 30.
“I’m happy that we still have the opportunity to play. That’s the biggest thing for our girls,” Three Rivers women’s basketball coach Alex Wigs said. “It’s pretty much going to be a lot of practices the first semester and the second semester is going to be a lot of games.”
For the Raiders, this means their annual Thanksgiving Tournament would need to be moved to January or later.
Teams are allowed five scrimmage dates in total for the year, with two scrimmages allowed in the spring, and each scrimmage can have no more than two outside opponents.
Players are permitted 60 consecutive calendar days for practices and scrimmages from Sept. 15, to Dec. 15. If players do not practice on a Saturday or Sunday, it would still count toward the 60 calendar days.
“It will be a challenge,” Three Rivers men’s basketball coach Brian Bess said. “Usually there’s a sense of urgency that you have with a game coming up, now you won’t have that in practice.”
Coaches will now need to rework their schedules to fit 22 games into a two-month window. Wiggs said his schedule had been finished for a couple months.
“The thing I like about it, is everybody is in the same boat,” Wiggs said. “I’m glad the NJCAA did it from that standpoint. It is an even playing field across the board for every team.”
Baseball and softball are permitted 60 consecutive days for practices and scrimmages from Sept. 5 to Nov. 15.
Baseball and softball can resume practices Jan. 10, games can start Jan. 22, with a maximum of 56 games. All regular season, region and district games must be completed by May 19 for softball and May 23 for baseball. The softball national tournament will start May 25 and the baseball national tournament will start June 2.
“For us, it’s didn’t change a whole lot,” Three Rivers softball coach Jeff Null said. “Workouts will be a little challenging early on because we can’t do that as a group.”
Football, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, track & field, swimming and diving, golf, and lacrosse are also all moved to 2021.
Only bowling, cross country, half marathon and Division III women’s tennis are still permitted to have fall competitions.
“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. “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.”
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic