NJCAA sets plan for return

Newton Kansan

The National Junior College Athletic Association, of which Hesston College is a member, set out its plans for resuming competition for the 2020-21 school year.

According to the release issued by the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, those procedures will be followed by the conferences’ 21 member schools, including Hesston.

Schools will be able to open dorms to all student-athletes beginning July 18, followed by a 14-day quarantine. Teams may begin practice Aug. 1. If a school wishes to bring student-athletes on campus earlier, that school must file a a plan of action to the NJCAA national office by July 10.

The following safety protocols have been recommended:

• Member colleges should adhere to all state and local regulations and guidelines regarding COVID-19 and re-opening.

• Utilize safety packet provided by the NJCAA Health & Safety Council and the NJCAA National Office.

• Temperature checks for all student-athletes, coaches, and game personnel prior to each competition.

• Visiting teams are encouraged to check temperatures before departing from their home location.

• Provide sport medicine staff with necessary personal protective equipment.

• Limit contact between teams when possible, including the elimination of the pre-game and post-game handshake.

• Limit student-athlete fan engagement before and after competition.

The following recommendations have been made for facilities and equipment:

• Member colleges should adhere to all state and local regulations and guidelines regarding COVID-19 and re-opening facilities.

• Member colleges should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the field, court, or playing surface.

• Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfecting.

• Limit the use of shared objects and equipment when possible.

• Eliminate the sharing of water bottles and towels among teammates.

• Limit facility access for student-athletes as deemed appropriate.

• Implement social distancing for team benches when possible.

• Encourage fans, staff, and other event attendees to wear face masks.

• Encourage social distancing for fans during the event.

Schools that are suspending sports teams for the 2020-21 school year should notify the national office by July 27.

The following sports may begin competition Aug. 20:

• Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

• Football

• Men’s and Women’s Half Marathon

• Men’s and Women’s Soccer

• Division III Women’s Tennis

• Women’s Volleyball

Changes to fall regional and district championship formats must be made by Sept. 15.

The following changes have been made to fall national championships:

“ Championship hosts should follow all safety protocol recommendations provided to NJCAA member colleges for regular season competition.

• Member colleges should adhere to all state and local regulations and guidelines regarding food service for concessions and hospitality rooms.

• Eliminating championship banquets.

• Eliminating team community service activities.

• Request a social distancing plan from the host prior to the start of the event, including fan ingress, fan egress, fan seating.

• Encourage social distancing and directional signage in venue.

• Extra sanitization of team areas including benches, locker rooms, athletic training rooms, warmup areas, hospitality spaces.

• Required temperature checks for student-athletes, coaches, and game personnel prior to each entrance into the venue.”

The women’s Division I soccer championships have been moved to Nov. 18 to 23 at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga., because of conflicts with the rescheduling of the Masters. The men’s and women’s half-marathon have been moved to Nov. 17 at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Fall competition for springs sports (baseball, beach volleyball, golf, lacrosse, softball and tennis) will be condensed from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31 with practice to begin Aug. 31.

Basketball practice may begin Sept. 14 with the first competition to begin starting Oct. 16.

Wrestling practice will be held from Oct. 1 to 31 and resume Jan. 1, 2021. Competition may begin Jan. 20, 2021. The national championships will be April 23 and 24, 2021 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Practice in bowling, swimming and diving and indoor track and field may begin Oct. 1 with competition to begin Oct. 30. Schools are encouraged to limit competition between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1, 2021.

The NJCAA also has made adjustments for schools wishing to change divisions for this school year and 2021-22.

If a school suspends a sport because of COVID-19, those athletes who signed a letter of intent are not recruitable by another member school until they have been released by the school they originally signed. Those that have been released from their LOI must have a signed transfer waiver to compete at their new school. Student-athletes not signed to a LOI (walk-ons) are recruitable.

The entire document is available here: