WINCHESTER — The Northwest Athletic Conference Executive Board approved a plan this week to move the majority of its fall sports to winter and spring quarters for the 2020-21 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer won’t begin competition until the spring, but men’s and women’s cross country will remain in the fall.
Umpqua Community College has volleyball and cross country teams. The Riverhawks are adding women’s soccer to their athletic program and will start play in the fall of 2021.
The California Community College Athletic Association is moving all sports, including football, to the spring.
The NWAC is comprised of community colleges in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, along with the Canadian province of British Columbia.
“We’ve been involved with discussions all along (with the NWAC),” UCC Athletic Director Craig Jackson said. “We’re following suit with what the California schools did, and this is a scenario we were prepared for.
“This gives us a unique opportunity to do some different things with everybody in the fall. It gives athletes a chance to square their classes away before sports happen. I’m hoping we keep moving forward.”
The UCC cross country teams will compete this year on a reduced and modified schedule. Head coach Alan King says practice can begin on Aug. 29 once they move into the yellow phase. He isn’t sure what the schedule will look like, but said the NWAC Championships will be held on Nov. 14 — assuming it’s safe to do so.
“It’s all up in the air. Everything is fluid, we’ll go day by day,” King said. “I’m happy we’ll have a season. I’m glad we’ll have an opportunity to have kids get on campus and compete.”
UCC volleyball coach Lacy Pinard will have extra time to work with her athletes.
“So happy we are still competing!” Pinard said.