Grayson College hoops seasons get pushed back

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat

The National Junior College Athletic Association announced that it has approved the proposal to move a majority of athletic competition from the fall semester to the spring semester.

As part of the vote after recommendations from the NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents, Grayson’s men’s and women’s basketball programs will now have to wait until January to open their seasons.

The NJCAA set a new schedule where practice will will be allowed from September 15 to December 15 and then pick back up on January 11 with games beginning on January 22. Each schedule will have a maximum of 22 games, which will leave just a handful of non-conference contests due to the number of North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference match-ups the Vikings and Lady Vikings must play. There will be five scrimmages allowed.

The regular season and regional tournaments must be completed by April 10 and the NJCAA National Tournament will start on April 19.

It was a move done to provide engagement, safety and region leadership to support the student-athletes during both semesters. The other sports moved to the spring, which Grayson does not sponsor, were football and volleyball. Out of the NJCAA’s 15 sports, the only two which will be held in the fall are cross-country and Division III women’s tennis.

"Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes," NJCAA President & CEO Dr. Christopher Parker said. "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 decision will push back the start of the Grayson men’s and women’s basketball seasons by two months. Baseball and softball will have their normal 2021 seasons.

Baseball will be allowed to practice from September 5 to November 15 with a maximum of 15 scrimmages.

The season will go from January 22 to May 23 for a maximum of 56 games. The Junior College World Series will be from May 29 to June 5.

Softball will be allowed to practice from September 5 to November 15 with a maximum of seven scrimmages.

The season runs from January 22 to May 16 for a maximum of 30 dates of competition. The World Series will be from May 25-29.

Both basketball programs had not yet released their 2020-21 schedules. In the middle of June, the NJCAA announced that the start of practice for men’s and women’s basketball teams would move up to September 14, games could begin on October 16 and schools were encouraged to adjust their schedules to limit competition between Thanksgiving and January 1.

Last season both opened the season with games on November 1. The Vikings, led by Scott Monarch finished the regular season on February 26 while the Lady Vikings, led by Bill Damuth, ended on March 5 with a loss in the first round of the NJCAA Region V Tournament.

The Lady Vikings went 21-9 overall and 11-5 in North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference action while the Vikings were 14-16 and 6-8 in conference action.