While some hurdles remain, optimism seems to be building that the California Community College Athletic Association will have a fall season in 2020.
The CCCAA Board of Directors on Friday unanimously passed a modified version of a plan first presented at a meeting on May 29, which would allow fall athletes to return to practice on Aug. 31, provided the state has moved onto Stage 4 of its reopening plan by July 17.
If that happens, Bakersfield College's cross country, women's golf, soccer, volleyball and wrestling teams could take part in competitions beginning on Sept. 11, while football could participate in games beginning Sept. 26.
"At least you know we have the opportunity now to move forward," BC football coach R. Todd Littlejohn said. "We don't know a lot of particulars as far as how many games we're going to play, what games we're not going to play and those things. But nevertheless, it gives us a starting point that shows we're moving forward."
The plan also opens the door for teams to close the year by competing in regional championship tournaments. Because of the late start — fall practices were originally slated to begin Aug. 10 — the CCCAA will not host state championships next season.
"That I think is a big deal," Renegade volleyball coach Carl Ferreira said of the addition of regionals. "To play and to not have a big prize at the end would have been a little bit of a bummer so I'm very glad we were able to have that put into the plan."
If California remains in Stage 3 of its reopening plan, a Contact/Non-Contact plan would allow cross country, women's golf, volleyball and swimming and diving teams to have Aug. 31/Sept. 11 start dates, while football, soccer and wrestling would be moved to the spring, where they'd begin practicing on Jan. 18 with games beginning on Feb. 13.
If a spike in COVID-19 related illnesses arise, the CCCAA would use a Contingency Plan, which would move all sports except cross country and women's golf to the spring.
One sport affected by all plans in basketball, which wouldn't begin practices until February even if Friday's proposed plan passes.
Along with basketball, BC's baseball, beach volleyball, men's golf, softball, swimming, tennis and track and field teams would begin practicing on Feb. 15, with games allowed to take place as early as March 1.
Under the Contact/Non-Contact plan, basketball would begin practices on Jan. 18 and games on Feb. 13. Under the Contingency Plan, the practice date would be the same, while games could start on Feb. 5
Spring sports using a March 27/April 10 starting model under both the Contact/Non-Contact and Contingency plans.