Sports will not be returning to Orange Coast College this fall semester, or the Orange Empire Conference for that matter, amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement on July 9, the California Community College Athletics Association officially postponed sports until the spring.
The board of directors chose to approve the implementation of its contingency plan which sees all sports move to the spring. Competitions for basketball, cross country, football, women’s golf, soccer, women’s volleyball, water polo, and wrestling are set to begin February 5. While the remaining sports will get underway April 10, and conclude June 23.
Seasons will be reduced by 30% across the board, and at the end of each sports respective campaign will be regional playoffs. No state championships will be held in 2020-21.
The format of the regional playoffs is yet to be announced, or whether or not teams will play only inner conference opponents.
“It sounds like because all of the conferences are different sizes, and it’s not entirely clear how regional playoffs are going to be seeded yet that non-conference competition is still in play because it might play a role in the seeding of the regional playoffs,” OCC’s Athletic Director Jason Kehler said.
The CCCAA’s contingency plan includes a start date for practices just two weeks before the seasons’ opening. However, teams will not have to wait for those official start dates to begin training.
“We are actually able to practice as long as we have a class that is in session,” Kehler said. “They could have their team class essentially start at the beginning of the spring semester, and they would be able to start meeting as a team at that time. They don’t need to wait until March. That is just the CCCAA’s official start date.”
With the schedules most likely being complied with multiple sports games a day, the school will have to get creative when it comes to finding ways to host a variety of different matches.
“If we have to move a contest, maybe [we will] switch a home and away on a date,” Kehler said. “It’s going to be the ultimate puzzle when it’s all said and done.”
Though the season may not appear or play out as normal, the objective for the teams remains the same.
“The ultimate goal more than anything was to give our athletes an opportunity to compete, give them an opportunity to be recruited, and get as much opportunity to transfer to the next level moving forward,” Kehler said.