POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The NJCAA announced Monday the immediate cancelation of all spring competitions, citing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"In light of the progressive evolvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year," stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition. We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes."
The cancelation includes practices, regular season, postseason and national championship play.
"I am devastated for these exceptional student athletes who have worked relentlessly to prepare for this season. We are committed to continuing to build champions on and off the field," Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. "I have no doubt the resiliency of our coaches and players will shine in this difficult time. Our programs will be ready to compete at the highest level when we are allowed to return to the field in the future.
"Our primary responsibility is to protect our campus and surrounding communities. I understand the necessity of the NJCAA decision."
At the time of the cancelation, Pearl River's men's basketball had just been named the No. 1 seed in the NJCAA Tournament; Coach Chris Oney's Wildcats set a program record with 28 wins and were the nation's lone undefeated team after claiming the MACJC and Region XXIII championships.
Additionally, Pearl River's softball team was 8-12 and in the midst of its first season under new coach Christie Meeks.
Coach Michael Avalon's Wildcat baseball team was ranked No. 3 in the country with a 12-4 record.
Pearl River's rodeo team was also in the midst of its spring schedule under the guidance of new head coach Frank Graves Jr. and was set to host a rodeo in Poplarville at the end of the month; the rodeo has been canceled.
"This is a tough day for our student-athletes and our staffs, as I know how much effort it takes to prepare for a season. We certainly will always move forward with the best interests of our students, staff and community in mind," Pearl River Athletics Director and Vice President of Student Services Jeff Long said. "We understand that tough decisions had to be made. It makes it no less difficult to have these conversations with our coaches and players.
"As always, we will navigate these tough times and come out on the other side stronger and ready to represent our institution to the highest standard."
ELIGIBILITY, RECRUITING, NLIs
The NJCAA also announced other changes:
- No spring sport student athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.
- On- and off-campus recruiting for all sports will be halted until April 15, at which time the suspension will be reassessed.
- The NJCAA will explore the opportunity to expand allowable Letters of Intent for spring sports for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years under the recommendation of the NJCAA Eligibility Committee, which meets Thursday.