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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Aug 07, 2020

New Jersey Colleges Cancel or Postpone Fall Sports

By Tim Morris

Brookdale Community College’s refurbished athletic fields will be lying idle this fall.

With the National Junior College Athletic Association making the decision to postpone close-contact sports because of COVID-19, Brookdale’s men’s and women’s soccer teams and women’s volleyball squad will be out of action until the spring of 2021. The newly seeded soccer pitch will have to wait until then to be showcased.

Brookdale Athletic Director and women’s soccer Coach Katelyn Amundson said she was a “little surprised” by the NJCAA decision. She thought the major area of concern would be the indoor sports. But with the pandemic severely affecting so many states, Amundson said she knew the shutdown of fall sports was coming.

“There’s so much information that we don’t know. Science is working as fast as it can,” she said. “Health and safety come first.”

Amundson said her players were understanding about the situation everyone is in and that “knowing there will be a season” took a lot of the sting out of the loss of the fall campaign.

The men’s and women’s cross country and women’s tennis teams are still slated to compete, but finding competition could be difficult, Amundson explained, with the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) canceling fall sports.

Fall teams can go forward with practices, Amundson reported, following social distancing guidelines. Individual training will also be available to student-athletes following the same guidelines.

The NJCAA recently updated its 2020-21 plans. Winter sports at Brookdale, including basketball and cheerleading, will not start until January with the national tournaments moving to March and April.

The spring season, which will now including soccer, volleyball and football (for those colleges that field teams) will maintain the usual schedules with some adjustments for softball, baseball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.

Amundson pointed out that there will be as many as nine sports in action simultaneously during the spring.

Through the school shutdown and news about moving fall sports to the spring, BCC coaches have maintained contact with their student-athletes.

“Our coaches have done a good job communicating with their athletes,” Amundson pointed out. “[The athletes] understand what’s going on.”

To help the student-athletes maintain a positive frame of mind, BCC coaches have been posting about Motivation Monday each week on the college’s website.

Thus far, the health concerns for athletes competing in sports has not been an issue at Brookdale.

“There’s been no pushback,” Amundson said.

The numbers would back that up. Amundson said that as of August, there had been an increase in the number of student-athletes at the college.

The biggest concern for Brookdale and other commuter schools is where the student-athletes go and what they do away from the campus. There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of all student-athletes to make a return to sports possible by following guidelines such as wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings.

Brookdale’s athletic fields are the only ones that will be silent this fall. Monmouth University announced that in conjunction with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Big South Conference (football) and the America East Conference (affiliation for the field hockey team), the school is forgoing the fall athletic seasons.

“While I am extremely saddened by this decision, it was the right one,” said Monmouth Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil in a press release. “The health and welfare of our student-athletes, their families, our coaches and our fans has to guide all decision made in regards to competing in intercollegiate athletics. I am continuing the conversation about giving our athletes the opportunity to compete as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The MAAC is looking at options in the spring for the fall sports.