The National Junior College Athletic Association announced Monday that it will move its junior college football season to the spring and that junior college basketball will not begin until January. The announcement came after the NJCAA's presidential advisory council recommended last week that a "majority" of competition move to the spring.
"Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes," NJCAA President & CEO said in a statement. "Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful."
The NJCAA's move to a spring football season was confirmed by CBS Sports on Sunday, and comes as doubt swirls over whether a FBS college football season can be held this fall while the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving junior college football to the spring will dramatically alter the 2021 recruiting cycle. In a "plan of action" released Monday, the NJCAA allows for football programs to practice between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, with three scrimmages against outside competition permitted. But the plan dictates that games cannot start until March 25, which is nearly two months after traditional National Signing Day for schools and just a week before the signing period is scheduled to end.
Without subsequent adjustments to the recruiting and signing calendars, the new timeline would leave coaches with little opportunity to evaluate the game action of unproven junior college prospects.
The NJCAA will also allow basketball programs to practice between Sept. 15 and Dec. 15, with five scrimmages allowed. NJCAA basketball championships have also been pushed from March to April.