Athletics out of early-spring competition

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The Delta College athletics program continues to prioritize academic success for students after deciding to opt out from all early-spring competition.

Director of Athletics Tony Espinoza said the program’s main concern is to keep athletes and staff healthy through remote training and provide support for its students as needed.

“Our current focus is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Espinoza. “We have also shifted some of our focus over to the academic needs of our student-athletes. Whether it’s financial aid, adding a class or contacting a support service available on campus, we as a team are working to help our student-athletes succeed.”

When the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) canceled sporting events in the fall, the spring season was split in half for different sporting events: Spring I for sports typically running in fall and Spring II for sports that are usually held in the spring. 

COVID-19 continues to remain prevalent across the state, with most of California still in the purple tier.

Delta opted not to participate in Spring I, meaning the school will not compete in the following sports: soccer, volleyball, cross country, football, women’s golf, basketball, water polo, and wrestling..

Delta and other community colleges will make the decision on whether to opt in or opt out of participating in Spring II sports in late February.

The athletics department is unsure as to when the athletes can return to practice on campus. The program already has a plan ready for when training transitions back to campus, yet a possible return will depend on the current impact of COVID-19 in the region.

“A return to campus for this spring would look similar to our return in the fall,” said Espinoza. “In regards to COVID we hope to see things improve in the state, specifically in our county and region. As things improve we will start to discuss a possible return date.”

While competition in the CCCAA remains halted, the NCAA has gone through with its competitions and has many wondering how much of an impact not competing will have on students trying to get recruited to a four-year institution.

“That is still to be determined. We are not sure how much this will impact our student-athletes at this point,” said Espinoza. “It all depends on what happens at the four-year institutions.”

Despite the uncertainty the athletics program continues to work with its student-athletes on assisting them with transferring to an institution.

“In addition to conditioning, our coaches are assisting their athletes with current academic needs, future academic goals and possible transfer opportunities. Our resource specialist is also working with our student-athletes throughout the semester,” said Espinoza.