NJCAA announces fall football season moving to spring 2021
The new NJCAA plan will permit teams to begin practice on March 1st, with games starting March 25th.
There will be no junior college football this fall.
“Deep down, I kind of saw it coming a little bit,” says Kiyoshi Harris, Independence CC head football coach.
“Initially I wanted to be disheartened and frustrated,” says Fort Scott CC head coach Carson Hunter, “Then I stopped and looked at the opportunity this presents, and honestly, I’m as excited as I would be if we were playing a regular season schedule, if not more.”
The NJCAA approved a plan on Monday to move the football season from this fall to next spring.
For some teams, that means they will lose some of their best players to graduation before the season starts.
“Last year we graduated 36 in December,” Harris says, “Now those kids have a decision to make. We got some kids with big time offers that graduate in December. I’m pretty sure they’re going to take those big time offers and move on.”
“They’ve earned that,” Hunter says of the possibility of guys moving on, “If we find a four-year school that’s a good fit for them, even if they have remaining two-year college eligibility, that’s our role, that’s our responsibility.”
For Hunter. the new schedule will allow more time with the young guys he has recruited in his first year leading the program
“Having a little bit of extra time to keep developing those guys, which is our whole MO, is not a bad thing,” he says.
Under the plan, teams will be allowed 60 consecutive calendar days for practice and scrimmages within August 15th and November 15th. Spring practice will begin on March 1st, with games beginning on March 25th.
Teams will be limited to three scrimmage dates against outside competition, with each scrimmage limited to just one outside opponent.
Each team will be allowed a maximum of eight regular season games.
“If we can play our Jayhawk League schedule and play the regional in-state opponents that we have for a long time around here, I know our guys would be thrilled,” Hunter adds, “I know I’m even more excited than they are.”
“For you to have to eliminate some teams, some of those teams are independent teams and they have to search for games every year,” Harris adds, “I feel bad for them.”
After the season it will be a quick turnaround to do it all again in the fall of 2021.
“The season gets done in May and you have to turn back around and bring these guys back in in July,” Harris says of the turnaround, “You got about five weeks off.”
“I believe the NCAA will react accordingly,” Hunter says, “Some of the best players in the country are going to be right here in the Jayhawk League playing in the state of Kansas, and they’re not going to get done until May. So if the schools want the best players in the country, they’re going to have to wait until those guys are done playing their last year of Jayhawk football.”
Regardless of when it is, for now, these coaches are happy to know they’ll at least have a chance to play at some point this school year.
“Our kids deserve a chance sometime,” Harris finishes, “If it’s not in the fall, then give them the chance in the spring.”
“There’s opportunity there,” Hunter finishes, “Just like everything we do here at Fort Scott we’re going to find the opportunity to make the most out of every single hand we’re dealt.”
The NJCAA has also moved other fall sports to the spring, including men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. In addition to the fall sports, the NJCAA has pushed back the start date of the basketball season. Click HERE to check out the complete list of changes approved by the NJCAA on Monday.