File Photo, Courtesy of Ariana Mendoza
California Universities are looking into the possibility of moving their fall 2020 sports seasons to the coming spring so all student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in their respective sports.
In an email interview, Jim McHugh, associate vice president for Athletic Affairs at California Lutheran University, said that while there is no set schedule for spring or winter sports, if a schedule is created, fall sports “would be blended in with the winter and spring sports,” playing a conference-only schedule.
“We are really hoping that if the plan is approved [by the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference presidents] and the state and county regulations allow, fall sports will be able to be played in the spring,” McHugh said.
McHugh said shifting the fall 2020 sports into winter and spring would not effect their 2021-2022 season, it would instead create an expanded, non-traditional season. Each team will have scheduled usage times for shared athletic facilities.
While many athletes are eager to get back to playing the sports they love, the stands are not going to be as they were before COVID-19.
“Currently there is no plan to have fans in the stands at the games. Students and families will be able to see the games streamed online,” McHugh said.
Limiting the number of people at each sporting event will hopefully decrease the spread of COVID-19 among athletes, coaches, referees and spectators.
McHugh shared that Cal Lutheran Athletics currently doesn’t know what the COVID-19 testing protocols will look like in the spring. However, “right now the state requires that college athletics have a COVID testing plan in order for athletes to return to practice and compete,” such as frequency of testing and those testing positive being placed in isolation.
The NCAA is also requiring testing, with results obtained within 72 hours, for eligibility to compete in high-contact sports.
In regards to funding fall, winter and spring sports simultaneously in spring 2021, McHugh said that each sport will use the same funding they would have used for their original 2020-2021 season.
“Health and safety are paramount when trying to figure out what sports can play in a pandemic,” said former Cal Lutheran president, Chris Kimball, in an interview with the Ventura County Star.