By Sazoun Grayer
Volleyball and soccer will not be played this fall at Eastfield after an announcement by the National Junior College Athletic Association today to move all close-contact sports for this upcoming season to spring 2021.
Basketball is slated to begin in January, and baseball is set to remain as scheduled for a spring start time, with some adjustments to dates for competitions. Most of the championship seasons will be pushed back from March to April.
NJCAA president and CEO Christopher Parker said the decision was made in the best interest of the safety and health of coaches and players as coronavirus infections increase to record-highs across the country.
“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” Parker said in a press release. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place.”
The NJCAA released a plan on June 19 to bring back sports for the 2020-2021 season. According to that schedule, soccer and volleyball practice would have started Aug. 1.
However, cases of COVID-19 have soared across the country since then. Texas reported a record high of 10,351 new cases on July 11, according to the Texas Health and Human Services, and Dallas County has reported more than 1,000 new cases on a daily basis since July 3, according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Eastfield athletic director and head basketball coach Anthony Fletcher said he has closely been following the NJCAA board on the talks about changes coming to the athletic schedule this season. He said he agrees with the decision to push competition back a few months.
“I’m good with the decision, I think it’s smart,” Fletcher said. “Hopefully there’s a vaccine by then and a potential treatment to save people’s lives. I think that gives the NJCAA some time and also lets other people get out there first and see what happens.”