ONTARIO — Junior college athletes in the Pacific Northwest, including those at Treasure Valley Community College, officially have an idea of when they will be returning to competition in the 2020-2021 school year.
On Thursday, the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) announced its Return to Play plan, which includes moving several sports to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 while allowing student athletes the ability to compete.
Similar to other schools of all levels, NWAC schools announced the cancellation of winter championships and all spring sports in mid-March, when the COVID-19 outbreak first began.
On Tuesday, the NWAC Executive Board approved its plan to move the majority of fall sports to start in the winter and conclude in the spring.
Soccer and volleyball are both being moved to a February start, with the NWAC Championships for both teams scheduled for June.
Currently, the cross country and golf seasons are not being affected. All fall baseball and softball has been canceled.
Basketball has been moved to a late-January start, with the championships being scheduled for mid-May.
Baseball, softball, golf, tennis, and track and field have not had their schedules changed yet. All of them are scheduled to start in late February and end in May.
TVCC Athletic Director Andy Ward said the guidance from the NWAC was a lot of work, as the conference had to take into account that it has schools in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
“There’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of looking at the best things for everybody,” Ward said. “Safety has been the guiding concept. But I think the NWAC has done a good job of preserving everyone’s season.”
Ward said the NWAC has had to take budget cuts into consideration, which means that every season is being reduced by 20%, which will lower travel spending.
Part of the NWAC’s guidance includes a restriction on overnight stays during travel. Ward said TVCC will be discussing travel with the NWAC to get permission for overnight stays, as TVCC is one of the most remote schools in the conference.
“We’re working on a plan with the school administration,” Ward said. “What will travel look like now? We have to travel safely.”