Spring sports done for season

The Louisiana State University Eunice softball team at the 2019 NJCAA Division II Softball Championship. (Photo: NJCAA)

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), which includes 415 public two-year college members, has canceled its upcoming basketball championships as well as its spring sports season.

NJCAA initially postponed the season until April 3 and basketball playoffs until April 20 and planned to re-evaluate in April. But on Sunday the association canceled for the rest of the academic year all practices, games and tournaments related to spring sports, which include baseball, beach volleyball, golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field. It also canceled championships for basketball, which is a winter sport.

NJCAA made the call after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday updated its recommendation of postponing any events comprising 50 or more for at least eight weeks.

“After that announcement, it became evident,” said NCJAA President Christopher Parker.

About 60,000 community college students participate in NJCAA sports over the year, with about 18,000 to 22,000 participating in spring sports, Parker said. Basketball is by far the most popular sport at community colleges, with more than 808 teams participating in the NJCAA last year. It is followed by soccer (448 teams), baseball (395), softball (355) and cross country (336).

NJCAA will not charge a season of eligibility for any student-athlete regardless of participation in the spring 2020 season. (Read the association’s Q&A on issues pertaining to eligibility.) How many students currently in their second year of eligibility will return for another season is uncertain, as many community college student-athletes who graduate and transfer to a baccalaureate institution want to play at the four-year college level, Parker said.

Many students affected by the cancellation of the season understand the reasons why, but they still are disappointed. On social media, some students lamented about not being able to showcase for sports scouts from four-year colleges or even having a chance to say goodbye to their teammates.

NJCAA, an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, started in 1938 after the National Collegiate Athletic Association rejected a petition from 13 two-year colleges in California to grant their teams and athletes permission to compete at the NCAA track and field championships.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.