COC ‘fall’ teams gearing up for sports seasons

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By Noelle Blumel

Signal Contributing Writer

Perry Smith

Sunday Signal Editor

While teams would normally be gearing up for intense offseason workouts this time of year, College of the Canyons coaches have been building a virtual community with their athletes during the quarantine, COC Athletic Director Chuck Lyon said Wednesday.

The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) officially postponed all fall sport seasons to January 2021 in a statement posted July 9.

“The CCCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved implementation of its Contingency Plan on Thursday, providing a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year that shifts all sports, including football, to the spring season,” the statement read. 

COC is among the thousands of community colleges throughout California who will be enduring athletic postponement until January. Lyon said in the meantime, the focus has been on making sure the student athletes are staying in contact and on track with their student goals while the CCCAA has activities on hiatus.

“We’re trying to wrap our arms around our current student athletes to make sure that they’re staying up to date with their education first — that’s the most important thing,” Lyon said. “And we’re just making sure we’re having contact with them so we know where they’re at and how they’re doing and if they have any questions, since we can’t bring them to campus.

“Right now, the plan for the state, not just us, is to run fall sports starting Jan. 18,” Lyon said, adding that there would be a reduced schedule, as well, when sports resume.

“And basically, (‘fall sports’) would run through (April 10), and then we would start traditional spring sports on (April 10) and we’d run to (June 15).”

The changes are requiring the teams to play only 70% of the traditional number of games, Lyon said, which is already being worked on by schedulers, in order to keep the season a little closer to the school year. The sports are already set to go about a month past the college’s traditional graduation date, Lyon said. 

“So football always plays 10 games, so we’re playing seven,” Lyon said, discussing the changes. “Basketball is going to be playing 20 games instead of 28.”

This plan was devised so that sports teams would not overlap and cause confusion for practice times, as some sports use the same facilities. 

“So what that’s gonna do is it’s gonna mean more conference competition, less non-conference competition,” Lyon said. “And as a result, less travel, which is really what we’re after.”

Lyon added that there will be no state level competition this year whatsoever.

“We’re not having state playoffs, so we won’t have state champions this year for any sport this school year,” he said. “So those are some of the adjustments we’ve made to try to play this year.”

In the meantime, student athletes will have to adhere to alternate practice approaches made by their coaches.

“That’s until October,” Lyon said. “It’s all based on what (the L.A. County Public Health Department) says we can do. We will reconvene again in October.”

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