Local community colleges will not be competing in any sports events this fall because of health concerns caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved implementation of its Contingency Plan on July 9, providing a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year that shifts all sports, including football, to the spring season.
The Contingency Plan was among three potential scenarios approved by the Board in early June. Each plan was wholly dependent on which phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic the state of California was in on the CCCAA’s previously announced July 17 decision date. The return to athletics in January will only occur if it is safe to do so, a decision that will be guided primarily by state and local health guidelines, the CCCAA said in a news release.
The most ambitious scenario was the Conventional Plan, which kept all sports except men’s and women’s basketball in their traditional places on the calendar. However, it was reliant on California being in Phase 4 of its reopening by mid-July, a likelihood that has diminished in recent weeks because of a big rise in coronavirus cases. The Board decided to approve immediate implementation of the Contingency Plan rather than wait for July 17.
Timi Brown, the athletic director at Chaffey College, mentioned the CCCAA's announcement on the college's website.
"The CCCAA decision to move all of our competitive athletic seasons to the spring is disappointing, but certainly understandable and is in the best interest to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, support staff and everyone involved in athletics," Brown said. "Panther Athletics is full of tradition, and we will continue to provide support for our student-athletes and programs, and I know all involved will persevere and work through this together."
Many athletes who graduate from Fontana schools go on to play sports at Chaffey College as well as other local community colleges such as San Bernardino Valley College and Riverside City College.
The Contingency Plan originally had men’s and women’s cross country and women’s golf competing in the fall but was slightly modified in its latest version to move those three sports to the spring with the remainder of the CCCAA’s 24 sports. They will start practice in mid-January and begin competition in February along with basketball, football, soccer, women’s volleyball, water polo and wrestling.
Badminton, baseball, beach volleyball, men’s golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and men’s volleyball are scheduled to start practice in late March before commencing competition on April 10.
All sports will have a 30 percent reduction in the maximum number of contests or competition dates that they are currently permitted and will also have regional postseason competition. Formats for the postseason will be announced at a later date. The CCCAA will not have state championships in 2020-21.
“We were very hopeful that we could go forth with the Conventional Plan,” said Jennifer Cardone, interim executive director. “It’s the closest to what everyone is used to and provides for the least disruption to our student-athletes and colleges. Unfortunately, California’s reopening progress has slowed, and it’s become apparent that we would not be in position to put it into action on July 17.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staffs are our top priorities,” she added. “While the Contingency Plan has the most drastic changes, it’s also the one that provides us the best opportunity to return to competition.”
The CCCAA has 110 member colleges and approximately 24,000 student-athletes.
Chaffey offers 14 athletic programs for men and women.
In 2019, the Chaffey football team capped an undefeated season with a 33-20 bowl win over SBVC, which finished with a 9-2 record. The Panthers, who have the longest winning streak in the state at 21 games, are rated 30th in the nation in this year's College Football America preseason rankings.