Fall sports at Pierce College are suspended for fall quarter 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will instead resume winter quarter.
The Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, (an athletic association for junior colleges like Pierce College in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia), announced the suspension on July 9, 2020 at their annual Northwest Athletic Conference.
The announcement came a day after the Ivy League Council issued a statement that fall sports will be suspended for Ivy League colleges including Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
In contrast, the Pac-12 (which is associated with the University of Washington and Washington State University) announced at their conference that football will start on Sept. 19, in a conference-only schedule. The season will comprise of 10 games played over a span of 14 weeks.
Although the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges suspended competition, they didn’t disclose to individual schools if their individual fall sports teams like volleyball could or couldn’t practice together during the fall season, regardless of no events.
The option of holding practice during what would normally be their regular time is left for colleges apart from the association to decide upon. Pierce College has chosen not to administer practices during that time.
“Due to the safety of our student-athletes and coaches, Pierce College has made the decision that we will not be allowing our teams to participate in official practices,” according to Duncan Stevenson, the Director of District athletics at Pierce College.
Instead, practice for fall sports at Pierce will also start in January during winter quarter along with official games.
Winter quarter sports at Pierce will proceed as normal, in addition to fall sports beginning alongside them. Spring quarter sports will also be starting at the normal date, making an overlap with all three seasons’ sports.
“As it looks right now, in the months of early March through the month of May, we’ll be having all of our sports in season,” says Stevenson.
The sports in season at the same time include volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and cross country.
Stevenson says that currently the athletic department is waiting for the revised conference schedules to come out. After that, the department will start working with coaches on non-league preseason schedules, travel arrangements, purchasing equipment/uniforms and helping administer student-athletes’ academic programs.
Gregory Finel, the head volleyball coach for Pierce, emphasized how he’s focused on his athletes’ education during this time.
“Whether you’re just a student or a student-athlete, you go to college to further your education and career,” says Finel.
He brought up how a number of student-athletes have athletic scholarships that help them get by financially in school.
“I think sometimes some people forget that they’re students first and athletes second,” says Finel, “so I’m just happy that they’re able to continue on and pursue their educational goals by utilizing athletics since some wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.”
Finel explained that he communicates with his athletes almost daily via Zoom. Regarding how they feel about the situation; although disappointed that they won’t be starting in the fall, he said that the team has been understanding of the circumstances and is happy to be resuming during this upcoming school year.
Stevenson also mentioned how he’s just thankful that sports will be able to go on throughout this year.
“Although it’s going to look a little different, we’re happy we can continue all of our sports and give our student-athletes as positive of an experience as we can,” says Stevenson.
Anyone wanting more updates for fall sports as the year goes on, can find them at the Pierce College Raiders web page (pierceraiders.com).
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