Wendy Maya/Courier In July 2020, the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) decided to postpone sports until January of 2021 to observe safety guidelines in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. Image source: McKinnell/Getty Images, https://watereuse.org & https://scorestream.com.
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While athletic leagues across the country have found ways to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and pick up where they left off in March, PCC sports teams won’t see action until Jan. of 2021 per an agenda set in place by the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). 

The CCCAA Board of Directors approved their Contingency Plan on July 9, creating an Early Spring and Late Spring season in order to give all 27 sports in the league the opportunity to compete. Early spring sports are set to begin practices on Jan. 18, start competitions on Feb. 5 and conclude by April 6 while late spring sports will start practices March 27, kickoff the season on April 10 and wrap up by June 12. This season, PCC’s fall athletes are left in limbo. 

“I was looking forward to seeing my teammates race in cross country or play football but I’m excited for the next semester and what our seasons hold,” freshman track and field runner Liz Ghazanchian said. 

Freshman recruit for the PCC women’s basketball team Tatiana Shnorhavorian is also disappointed that her first semester as a college athlete will be a primarily virtual experience. 

“With our season being moved to January it has affected my ability to get that bond with my team,” Shnorhavorian said. “As an incoming freshman this was supposed to be the time when I got to know my team and feel comfortable with them, figure out how they play. However I think this gives us more time to get in shape and really work on our skills.” 

According to PCC President and Board Chair Erika Endrijonas, the Contingency Plan remains in place as of now despite other leagues reopening. 

“The CCCAA COVID-19 Work Group has continued to meet all summer and into the fall, and at its last meeting, the Work Group voted to recommend to the CCCAA Board to move forward with the Contingency Plan in Spring 2021,” Endrijonas said.

The Board will meet to discuss the recommendation on Friday, Nov. 6. If CCCAA sports teams return in January as planned, they’ll be required to abide by a series of safety guidelines issued by the Department of Public Health for campuses recommencing athletics. 

“In the guidelines, which have been adjusted based on advocacy by the CCCAA, colleges must institute COVID protocols–masks, sanitation, social distancing–for all practices, including a reasonable amount of testing,” Endrijonas said. 

The COVID testing she refers to will be required of athletes, coaches and staff, all of whom must test negative 48 hours before each competition. 

“The CCCAA is working with the Foundation for California Community Colleges to, if possible, find a vendor to provide low-cost testing options,” Endrijonas said. 

According to Endrijonas, the timeline for CCCAA sports’ reopening ultimately relies on local forces. 

“Regardless of what colleges want or what the CCCAA votes in favor of, each county’s Department of Public Health determines whether the conditions are safe enough for athletics,” Endrijonas said. “While LA County has approved athletics for the PAC-12, it is with significant testing and other safety precautions in place.” 

Ghazanchian understands the extensive precautions for ensuring the safety of the athletic department, but highlighted the valuable time that teams are missing out on. 

“I was hoping we’d have the virus contained by the beginning of September so that we could start our conditioning, but I guess we made the most of what we could do by just working out on Zoom,” Ghazanchian said. “What I like about my team is that we made the best of what we could do by having our workouts on Zoom, so we’ve gotten to know each other in the meantime.”

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