The highly anticipated spring and winter sports for the 2021 season at JJC were well on pace to begin on time, as teams started preparing for the season in the fall.
But that changed when on Dec. 18, 2020, Athletic Director Gregory Braun and the administration made the decision that all indoor sports were canceled. This proceeded with the North Central Community College Conference (NC4) canceling all conference scheduled games, as these sports are considered high to medium risk because of COVID-19.
“The majority of the community colleges in our region have made the same decision,” Braun said. “We are still going to do our best to have our student athletes around campus and will be giving them the opportunity to practice.”
Several of JJC’s teams will be left without a season. These include men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, wrestling and cheerleading.
NJCAA was able to move the soccer season to the spring for both men and women, and they will be able to compete.
Lots of questions still remain unanswered as this information is new to coaches and players from these teams. Are there alternatives for the canceled season? How about the eligibility for these players in their last years at JJC?
Women’s head volleyball coach Daniel Brown gave his input on the situation and what his team will do to remain up to speed.
“As a coach, we just move on,” Brown said. “Certain things are out of our control. I support our athletic director and administration here at JJC that they did everything they could for the safety and well-being of our students.”
After the 2020 spring season was postponed midway through the season last year, the NJCAA made a decision to grant a year of eligibility to every athlete whose sport was cut short. The same will be done following this year’s cancellation sports.
Brown and his team will look to stay busy while they await the following season. For him, this will include preparing for the recruiting process and welcoming new incoming transfers.
“We will hopefully hold some spring practices and workouts when we get the official okay,” Brown said. “It just so happens that we have a few [players] that will graduate and will not use their remaining eligibility.”
Although a decision like this is never easy to make, the health of the players and coaches had to be given the highest priority.
“I really held on to the hope of all teams playing this year until last minute,” Braun said. “The NJCAA has declared an alternate season to begin official practices in April.”