An NCAA Division II athletic conference in California has canceled its fall sports seasons, a decision that leaves the UAA volleyball team with two fewer opponents for the 2020-21 season.
The Seawolves were expected to play at least two teams from the California Collegiate Athletic Association at the Sept. 10-12 West Region Showcase tournament in Bellingham, Washington.
The tournament bracket will likely be reconfigured with a smaller field, UAA coach Chris Green said Wednesday.
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference, which counts UAA and UAF among its members, canceled its 2019-20 spring sports seasons weeks ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic but so far has not said if the 2020-21 fall sports season will be impacted.
“I just think it’s a little bit early to make these decisions,” Green said.
But, he understands why the CCAA has already canceled fall sports at its 12 member schools. All of the schools are part of the California State University system, which Tuesday announced that most classes in the system will use online learning for the fall semester. The CCAA announced the cancellation of its volleyball, soccer and cross country seasons shortly after that.
“If you’re not having students on campus, it’s hard to bring only athletes onto campus,” Green said. “If you’re not having face-to-face classes, it’s hard to have athletics.”
Among the California schools that won’t have a volleyball season is the reigning national champion, Cal State San Bernardino. “And they have almost everyone back,” Green said. It’s possible the NCAA will give CCAA athletes an additional year of eligibility, he added.
Like so many others, Green is working from home these days. His office is at the Alaska Airlines Center, which several weeks ago was converted into an emergency health-care facility for COVID-19 patients.
The facility so far hasn’t been needed as a backup for hospitals, and Green isn’t sure when hospital cots will be removed and volleyball nets will go up in the gym. The Seawolves host clinics for high school, middle school and elementary school players every summer, and the first is scheduled to begin July 20.
“There’s a whole bunch of them and it’s a big revenue-generator, so we’re hoping we can still have them if it’s safe,” he said.
The Seawolves are scheduled to begin practice Aug. 10. Their 2020-21 schedule hasn’t been released, but it includes a tournament that Green said shrank from five teams to four when the University of Indianapolis pulled out because of financial pressures caused by the new coronavirus.
Green said he has heard rumors the NCAA may move women’s volleyball from the fall to the spring, “but that’s all I’ve heard.”
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