Sports

Central Valley junior colleges suspend fall athletics

The majority of community colleges in the Central Valley will not field sporting activities in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last week, the Central Valley Conference announced the decision to cancel sporting activities, citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in California and the concerns to be able to adequately protect staff and student-athletes. 

Central Valley Conference Commissioner Susan Yates said any colleges that wish to compete may request to be hosted by another California community college athletic conference – so the door is still open, albeit unlikely – for some sports to take place. 

The conference offers 12 men’s sports and 12 women’s sports and is made up of 10 colleges: Clovis Community College, Columbia College, Fresno City College, Merced College, Porterville College, Reedley College, College of the Sequoias, Taft College, West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore. 

Despite the Central Valley Conference’s decision, Visalia-based College of the Sequoias intends to have its athletics programs compete in the fall. 

COS will await the July 17 California Community College Athletic Association meeting, which will determine which sports will be allowed to compete in the fall, such as cross country and golf, and which sports will be moved to the spring, namely football. 

“Fielding teams provides the structure and motivation for our young men and women to move forward with their education, and regardless of how and when competition occurs, we believe it is important to offer them that opportunity,” said COS in a statement. 

Reedley College announced its support for the CVC’s decision, but also said that the school will continue to support non-contact training for fall semester sports, even though they will not compete. 

Clovis Community College also sent out a statement following the announcement, saying the school had met with the Fresno County Department of Public Health to discuss protocols for social distancing and contact tracing, but ultimately came to the decision to suspend athletics. 

“My heart hurts with this decision because I believe athletics plays a critical role in student access and student success,” said schools President Dr. Lori Bennett. “The athletic department, including our amazing student support team, will continue to support our student athletes in our online environment and help them stay active, connected, and on track to meet their individual educational goals. 

“Thank you for your understanding regarding this difficult decision. We hope to be back in competition in the spring.”

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.