After an abrupt and unexpected end to spring collegiate sports in March because of the pandemic, Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) is gearing up for a reduced fall sports season with careful safety precautions. They announced men’s and women’s golf and cross country will compete this fall with a reduced schedule.
“We are still working out many of the details and we all are committed to providing the best student-athlete experience we can, despite the changing landscape of Covid-19,” said new CCS Athletic Director Jim Fitzgerald.
The current plan is that men's and women’s soccer and women's volleyball - typically fall sports – will not start until February under a new set of guidelines published last week by the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). The delay impacted 39 athletes from the two Spokane community colleges. Both NWAC and CCS leadership emphasize that future plans could be revised if Covid-19 health and safety conditions require additional changes.
“We know some players will be disappointed by the delay so I made sure our coaches personally contacted our athletes and helped them understand that the NWAC decisions and our local decisions are being made with a focus on their health and safety,” Fitzgerald said. He joined CCS on July 1 after working as an assistant athletic director for Eastern Washington University.
All CCS commitments regarding scholarships or other support for student athletes will remain in place as these or other changes related to Covid-19 occur, he said. CCS Bigfoot Athletics has the greatest number of sports in NWAC and Fitzgerald said he and others in Spokane will be closely coordinating with NWAC as decisions are made about how practices and competitions will be managed during the pandemic.
In addition to announcing the postponement of certain sports, NWAC also released a comprehensive set of guidelines for returning to play. These conference guidelines emphasize a focus on health and safety, a recognition of financial difficulties facing member colleges and an anticipation of the need for everyone to remain flexible and cooperative in this changing landscape.