Local athletes participating in fall and winter sports at Everett Community College and Edmonds College will have to wait a bit longer than usual for their seasons to get underway.
The Northwest Athletic Conference, of which both Everett and Edmonds are members, announced Thursday evening that its executive board approved a plan to move the “majority” of fall sports to the winter and spring quarters due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, winter sports, such as men’s and women’s basketball, will not begin competition until January 2021.
“We have been thoughtful, comprehensive, flexible, and listened to our constituents. It is time to move forward,” NWAC executive director Marco Azurdia said in a statement on the conference’s website. “We have said from the beginning that flexibility, creativity, adaptability, and patience are essential to the success of our return to play. NWAC will continue to follow the guidance and direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local and state health agencies, and member college presidents.”
The NWAC says it will use a phased approach to athletics. First is the “Grey Phase” in which all student-athletes will be asked to shelter for two weeks within the county of the institution and no practices will take place.
Next, in the “Red Phase,” group practices can be held but with less than 10 players. Then in the “Yellow Phase,” practices can have as many as 50 participants. Finally, in the “Green Phase,” scrimmages and games can take place.
Fall sports at Everett Community College include volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country. Fall sports at Edmonds College include volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, and, for the first time in program history, men’s and women’s cross country.
The NWAC said that men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s golf will commence in the fall on a reduced schedule. Everett and Edmonds do not currently have golf programs.
All other NWAC sports will begin practices in the winter and spring quarters of 2021 also on a reduced schedule. Men’s and women’s soccer are now scheduled to begin in early February 2021, while volleyball is slated to begin at the end of February. All spring sports will start in February as usual. All start dates are the beginning of the “Red Phase,” with competitions not taking place until a month later at the earliest.
The NWAC men’s and women’s basketball championships, which are typically held on the Everett Community College campus, are slated to be held on May 14-16, 2021, at a site still to be determined.
The NWAC also “provided a comprehensive plan of health and safety protocol recommendations for member colleges to implement for practice, competition and championships. Each institution is to follow state, local, NWAC, and institutional guidelines as they relate to bringing back student-athletes to campus, as well as the health and safety of all participants.”
“Should conditions dictate change from these guidelines, we have contingencies in place that will help us address NWAC sports,” Azurdia added. “As additional information becomes available we will look to update our plans and strategies.”