‘A New Hope’: College Athletics In California Look to Find the Lightcsudhbulletin October 27, 2020 0 COMMENTS
United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum remains quiet as college football remains on hold this fall around California. Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash.
By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter
When the sports world came to a complete halt, lots of uncertainty became the focus of what the future of college athletics could look like.
In March, NCAA conferences including the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) where California State University, Dominguez Hills competes along with other CSU’s canceled the remainder of spring sports for the 2020 season
On May 12, CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced that the current fall semester classes would be conducted virtually. Following that announcement, the conference was the first to suspend athletics for the fall 2020 season.
As things progressed slowly, major Division I conferences including the Pac 12 which represents four California schools announced their intentions to postpone fall sports and move those respective seasons to the new calendar year.
Throughout the hiatus, student-athletes around California looked for ways to stay involved within their sport or plead their cases for a safe way to play meanwhile, in other states where restrictions are lax, the other power five conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 12) all elected to move forward with fall athletics as scheduled.
On September 24, after shutting the door on a 2020 football season a month prior, the Pac 12 announced that university presidents and chancellors approved a restart of competition that included an abbreviated seven-game conference-only football season starting in November.
Additionally, this opened the door for the conference’s basketball programs to start their respective seasons on time.
Throughout the process, the Pac 12 has prioritized the health and safety of student athletes, coaches and fans to resume. The turning points in this ongoing situation were more access to daily COVID-19 testing and clearer interpretations of guidelines from local health officials.
Just ten days prior to this announcement, football players from USC including quarterback Kedon Slovis pleaded to government officials including Gov. Gavin Newsom on how the state and conference can move forward in a safe return to competition after watching other conferences begin their seasons.
With Division I athletics now having clearance from the state and county officials to resume practices and games, is there a light at the end of this twisted tunnel for other collegiate programs to return to the state?
In September, it was announced that CSU’s would primarily remain virtual for the spring 2021 semester casting doubt on a return to athletics this academic year. The CCAA hopes to play this spring, but according to Commissioner Mitch Cox in a recent podcast interview elaborated on the hoops they have to jump through.
“We are desperately trying to get everyone back out there. We’re working on different options, it presents a challenge with lots of hurdles to get over.”
Cox hopes by late October, the conference can release a framework for a possible spring return that adheres to guidelines from respective state and county officials.
However, other Division II conferences such as the PacWest have provided an outline for a safe return when allowed.
Division I athletics has the ball rolling and looks to be the test for other conferences on returning. Yet, there is a newfound hope that all athletic competitions can return in a safe manner.