Sports in the air

Sports in the air

UPDATE: Pierce College and the other LACCD schools won’t participate in early spring competition. Read the full release here.

With new restrictions issued by local and state authorities, the question arises whether there will be sports next semester.

The California Community College Athletic Association Board of Directors decided at its last meeting to go by an opt-in or opt-out system to determine which schools will participate in competition.

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Santa Barbara City College became one of the first schools to pull the plug for early spring. The sports included football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s water polo, women’s golf, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Santa Barbara City College will be opting out of competition,” Superintendent/President Utpal K. Goswami wrote in a press release. “We are faced with continuously changing conditions and restrictions that post a significant challenge for our athletic teams.”

Other schools that decided to opt-out include College of the Canyons, Chaffey College, Mendocino College and Citrus College.

Southern California Football Association Commissioner Jim Sartoris wrote in an email that several schools have already made their decision.

“It is very difficult to predict how things will work out,” Sartoris wrote. “We still hope we have enough schools that will opt in and the CCCAA allows those schools to play in the spring. But as you know things change almost daily as far as restrictions put on our communities and schools.”

Sartoris said they are not in liberty to announce which schools decided to opt-in or opt-out until after the Dec. 18 deadline. Football season is scheduled to potentially start in February.

Los Angeles Community College District schools are set to decide whether to opt-in or opt-out for early spring.

Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen said he’s doubtful whether Pierce will bring back athletics in early spring.

“Even if for example we get to yellow, there would be limitations,” Montevirgen said. “And again I’m referring to only classes they would only be at 50 percent capacity. So while the state and county may say yes you can resume classes, it may not be feasible for us to do so.”

Montevirgen added, “I know it becomes somewhat contradictory even the CCCAA decision right now for them to go ahead and move forward with the contingency plan assuming all 24 sports including the fall sports that were delayed can continue in the spring. I have to be honest, I’m not as optimistic about that.”

Montevirgen said his main priority is the well-being of the student athletes, coaches, the faculty and staff.

Interim Athletic Director Susan Armenta said in a previous article, they will be fortunate to even be on campus next semester.

“Honestly, it depends on when we will be allowed to practice,” Armenta wrote. “If we have limited practice schedules, then the focus should be off of trying to win titles and more on getting back our fitness safely. Yes, it will be great to compete, but the way things have been going in LA County, we need to be grateful for the opportunity to play at all.”

Armenta wrote they still have to deal with state and county guidelines, however mentioned that the athletic directors across LACCD with the athletic trainers intend to get creative to find a way to have student-athletes on campus.

It’s our hope that with a collective proposal we present to our respective college and District administrators, we can begin the process of getting student-athletes back on campus. It could be denied, but it’s worth a shot,” Armenta wrote.

Armenta said LA County continues to be a COVID-19 hot spot.

“We need to show that we can provide safe face-to-face opportunities using the facilities that we have on campus – providing adequate distancing, using outdoor facilities like the stadium, small groups, and no to minimal equipment to start out,” Armenta wrote. “Lastly, we need to figure out contact tracing in the event there is a COVID-19 case. These are only a fraction of the elements needed to get back on campus safely, but if we can provide a solid plan, at least we can see if the college, District, and county would consider our proposal.”

The CCCAA has set a Feb. 26 deadline for schools to opt in or out of the later seasons which include baseball, softball, men’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, men’s golf, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track and field.