Area community colleges facing a full year devoid of almost all sports

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, College Sports, Sports

 

Most area community colleges will be going an entire year almost entirely without athletic competition.

SUNY Schenectady announced Wednesday that it was canceling its baseball and women’s crew seasons for the spring, taking an entire academic year’s worth of intercollegiate athletics off the table due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SUNY Schenectady hasn’t had teams compete since canceling its 2020 spring season in the early days of the pandemic.

It’s a move that SUNY Schenectady athletic director Dave Gonzalez said Wednesday was going to be echoed throughout Capital Region junior colleges this spring. He said that of the remaining schools in the Capital Region — Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, Columbia-Greene Community College and SUNY Adirondack — only Adirondack was going forward with a plan to offer a large slate of spring sports.

“We’ve been meeting weekly, all of the [NJCAA] Region 3 athletic directors, we have Zoom meetings every Wednesday,” Gonzalez said. “This has been the biggest topic of discussion, the spring. With all the different variables, and they’re so hard to control, it’s really very difficult to have a season. We all had to make a commitment this week. I looked at all the schools, and Hudson Valley, F-M and Columbia-Greene all did the same thing that we did.”

F-MCC athletic director Kevin Jones confirmed via text message that the school would not be offering baseball or softball this spring, but the school is planning to offer golf. The only other sport the Raiders offered this academic season was cross country in the fall.

HVCC also issued a release Wednesday that it was canceling its spring sports slate.

Athletic officials at  SUNY Adirondack did not respond to requests for comment.

Also Wednesday, the Division II Northeast-10 Conference, of which The College of Saint Rose is a member, made the decision to cancel plans for a repositioned regular season for the conference’s seven traditional fall sports. The affected sports, which the NE10 had hoped to sponsor during the spring, are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, football, field hockey and volleyball.

According to a release from the conference, the NE-10 remains “unanimously committed” to sponsoring competition in its 10 spring sports, including tennis and golf.

Saint Rose is exploring opportunities for non-conference competition for the school’s fall and winter programs.

“Although there will be no formal NE-10 competition for our fall and winter sport programs, we are committed to our steadfast goal of providing competition opportunities for the student-athletes in these programs,” Saint Rose athletic director Lori Anctil said in a release. “We are prepared to resume activity for all 19 varsity programs and will follow NCAA guidelines on testing as we gear up for competition. We are excited to welcome our Golden Knights back to campus this spring semester and are hopeful for the opportunities ahead.”

At the junior college level, wiping out an entire year of competition was an extremely difficult decision, Gonzalez said, but ultimately made the most sense.

“Last summer, when we were trying to make a decision about the fall, I can remember two community colleges — Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio — that at time canceled their whole seasons in advance,” he said. “In retrospect, that might’ve been the right move, because that’s pretty much what is happening.”

It’s especially difficult for the spring sports, which are now facing a second straight season without competition.

“These kids have come to our place to play, and for two years in a row we haven’t been able to do it,” Gonzalez said. “It’s really disappointing.”

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