BUTTE VALLEY — With the growing number of coronavirus cases in California, the chance for fall sports to take place continues to shrink.
The California Community College Athletic Association, the governing board for all junior college sports in the state, will make a decision on fall sports July 17. The schedule for sports at Butte College and the rest of Golden Valley Conference could look very different.
“We’re trying to save community college athletics for the 25,000 student-athletes that we have in the 100-plus community colleges,” said Mike Liddell, the commissioner for the Big 8 Conference and President of the Commissioners Association.
Basketball, normally a winter sport, has already been approved to move to the spring by the CCCAA board of directors.
Currently, the CCCAA has devised three different plans that allow for sports to take place.
The first plan would keep football, cross-country, volleyball and women’s golf in the fall but with a limited schedule. No contests would take place after Nov. 25 and practices won’t be able to start up until Aug. 31.
The second scenario would only allow non-contact sports such as cross-country and women’s golf along with volleyball, which is considered a minimal contact sport, to take place in the fall. However, if it is deemed unsafe for volleyball to go on, it will be moved into the spring.
The final plan, which is considered the contingency plan, features only cross-country and women’s golf to happen in the fall with the season ending Nov. 25. All other sports, including football, would be moved to the spring with a reduced schedule. Basketball, football soccer and volleyball would all start Jan. 18, 2021 and conclude by April 17, 2021. Baseball, men’s golf, softball and track and field would begin March 27 and finish June 23.
Each plan will only have a regional championship with no state championship contests held. Fans will also not be allowed into games until the state enters Phase 4 of reopening.
Some conferences, like the Central Valley Conference, have already suspended competition in the fall. But within the Golden Valley Conference officials are still hoping to get some kind of competition going.
“Our goal is to get these athletes moving on and getting them to a four-year school,” said Gary Houser, the commissioner of the Golden Valley Conference. “We want to see some form of athletics, if safe and if can be monitored. It’s so important for us to not lose a year of athletics.”
In the GVC, schools include Feather River College, which is located in Quincy, Lassen College in Susanville and College of the Siskiyous in Weed. In Plumas County (Quincy), there have been seven confirmed cases and in Lassen County there are 37 confirmed cases. Siskiyou County had 14 confirmed cases.
The number of coronavirus cases looks different within the GVC region than it does in the Inland Empire Athletic Conference which is made up of schools in Southern California, making the decision for the CCCAA even more difficult.
“It’s hard to make one rule to fit everything,” Houser said. “There’s probably going to be some regional considerations.”
Butte’s football team competes in the NorCal Football Conference with Feather River, Siskiyous, Shasta College in Redding, Sierra College in Rocklin and American River in Sacramento.
“Travel is going to be one of the real determining factors on how much we can play and when we play,” Houser said.
Butte College has moved most of its classes for the fall semester online.
“We want to have some semblance of athletics going into next year but only if we can have our athletes and personnel safe,” Houser said. “I hope we can find a path to athletics next year.”