Sports at the junior college level will officially start in 2021.

To ensure a safe return to athletics, the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) approved a contingency plan that will shift all sports to the spring season.

The announcement came on Thursday after the CCCAA Board of Directors approved the Contingency Plan that moves football, women’s volleyball, cross country, women’s golf, men’s and women’s water polo, men’s and women’s soccer and wrestling into January. All of those sports cannot practice until Jan. 18.

Competition for football can begin on Feb. 13 while others could start on Feb. 5. All sports will have a 30% reduction of games.

“I know I speak for the entire CCCAA Board that moving fall athletics to spring 2021 is a huge disappointment,” CCCAA Board Chair and President of Pasadena City College Dr. Erika Endrijonas said in a statement on Thursday. “However, the need to keep our student-athletes and the amazing coaches and athletic trainers who work with them safe was simply the only option available with the virus spiraling out of control across the state.”

The Contingency Plan was one of three potential scenarios approved by the board in early June.

Formats for the postseason will be announced at a later date and all sports will have regional position competition. There will be no state championships held during the 2020-21 academic year.

The regional playoffs for sports that usually take place in the fall or winter, including football, will take place on April 10 and April 17.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staffs are our top priorities,” CCCAA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Cardone said. “While the Contingency Plan has the most drastic changes, it’s also the one that provides us the best opportunity to return to competition.”

Sports such as baseball, softball, men’s golf, track, swimming, and men’s volleyball will start practicing on March 27 with competition starting on April 10. The regional playoffs for those sports will begin on June 16 and end on June 23.

The CCCAA said a January return for athletics is not guaranteed and it will depend on state and local health guidelines.

Local junior colleges in the Central Valley that will be affected by the Contingency Plan are Reedley College, College of the Sequoias, West Hills College Lemoore and Coalinga, Porterville College, Clovis Community College and Fresno City College.

Last month, the Central Valley Conference announced that its teams would not compete in the fall.

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