Three days after suspending spring sports until April 3 and later evaluating the coronavirus pandemic, Christopher Parker, CEO and President of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), announced on March 16 that all spring sports are canceled for the 2019-2020 season.
“In light of the progressive evolvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year,” he said.
The NJCAA webpage also states, “regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.”
Jenna VanKempen, a freshman first-baseman for the Grand Rapids Community College softball team, said she is devastated about the season coming to an end in such an abrupt way. VanKempen is appreciative for an extra season being credited to players, but isn’t sure how incorporating the freshman class of 2020-21 will affect next year’s season.
“I’ve been trying to grasp the thought for the last few days and it’s difficult to accept,” she said. “Even with an extra year of eligibility, my teammates are still moving on to other colleges. I’m very thankful for the NJCAA allowing another year of play, but there’s a grey area when it comes to the class below me joining athletics of colleges. That’s three different grade levels on one team.
VanKempen added, “It’s so heartbreaking that we played our last game together without even knowing it.”
The NJCAA will continue monitoring the coronavirus with a new tab for updates.