Wharton County Junior College’s volleyball and baseball teams will not compete this fall due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), the agency which oversees community college athletics, announced on July 13 that all close-contact sports played in the fall will now be shifted to Spring 2021 due to concerns over student safety related to the virus.
“WCJC has a fine athletic tradition and sports are an important part of the college’s culture, but the health and wellbeing of our athletes and coaches remains a top priority,” said WCJC President Betty McCrohan. “We plan to follow the NJCAA’s guidelines to keep our teams as safe as possible.”
WCJC’s volleyball team usually competes in the fall but must now postpone their season. The college’s baseball team already competes in the spring, but will cancel its fall scrimmage schedule.
“Ultimately the goal is to keep all programs active and viable while being as safe as we can,” said WCJC Athletics Director Keith Case. “This gives us a chance to get athletes on the court and out in the field as quickly as possible.”
Case, who took over the AD post last year, said schedules must be “staggered” to enable volleyball and baseball to compete at the same time of the year. He said both teams will utilize the fall semester for practices while opting out of competition with other schools.
Although the new start date will require some adaptation, WCJC volleyball coach Brianna Janecka said it will allow her team to adjust to new protocols, safety regulations and scheduling.
“This of course is going to be a huge adjustment for us all,” Janecka said. “There are still a lot of unknowns as far as what is to be expected in the future but we just need to remain hopeful and ready for what’s thrown our way.”
Current plans are to have WCJC athletes move into Wharton campus dormitories prior to the start of the fall semester, which begins Monday, Aug. 31. Case said dorm space is being limited to athletes and those on scholarship – which includes band, choir and drama students – to comply with social distancing guidelines.
WCJC’s rodeo team normally competes in both the fall and the spring. Whether the team will go ahead with competition this fall has not yet been decided. The WCJC rodeo team falls under the auspices of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.