We are all navigating uncharted waters carefully and cautiously as the last four days have been extremely trying for all involved, but we are committed to providing a safe and feasible plan of action to all NJCAA members across the country. At this time, we have postponed the Division I and Division II men’s and women’s basketball championships with a tentative start date of April 20th. All four hosts will make the appropriate accommodations to work with the association to provide the most beneficial opportunities for our student-athletes. There are calls set up with the chairs for Monday, March 16th with both divisions and genders of basketball to discuss the necessary rule adjustments and accommodations. A follow-up call with the athletic directors of all participating teams will occur on Thursday, March 19th.
After reviewing and evaluating all of the feedback and information from our membership and regional leadership, the NJCAA is suspending all competition beginning Saturday, March 14th through Friday, April 3rd. The NJCAA Board of Regents will meet on April 3rd as previously scheduled and an update from the National Office will be provided with a full assessment of the national landscape. Should conditions improve, regions and individual colleges will be allowed to resume regular season competition in a format and time period following April 3rd that has been approved by the region. During this entire “no competition” period, practice standards are determined by the individual colleges.
The NJCAA is also extending the date of April 3rd to April 10th for colleges to evaluate their seasons for potential hardships that fall under the 60.0% of the season completion ruling. These scenarios will greatly vary by sport. The deadline only applies to those CANCELLING their seasons of which individuals have already participated prior to the cutoff date of April 10th. It is very important to note that Dr. Parker has discussed this and in the past, an official ruling from the National Office has accompanied all student-athletes as appropriate documentation of a hardship. The NAIA and NCAA are having active conversations regarding the same concerns of their own student-athletes’ current eligibility. In this case, any student-athlete that falls under this blanket has a full commitment from the NJCAA National Office that his or her eligibility will remain intact as an NJCAA student-athlete for an additional season.
At the same time, these situations create a sense of uncertainty on future classes of Letter of Intent signees. To alleviate these concerns, the NJCAA National Office will present an increase in the number of allowable Letter of Intents for all spring teams for the 2020-2021 season to be vetted by the Eligibility Committee and officially approved by the Board of Regents at the April 3rd board meeting. This will apply to all programs, regardless if your institution competed in the spring. As an association, we understand there is no equitable way to increase for some, but not for others. If your region or institution has other rules in place, we simply ask that you inform them of the allowable increases if approved for the 2020-2021 signing class due to the mitigating circumstances of possibly returning a number of sophomores that are currently enrolled.
The NJCAA respects and values the decisions of each individual college and region to make the best appropriate decision necessary. We are fully committed to hosting spring national championships should the current situations improve. We will work with each district to make sure a pathway is clearly provided to all spring national tournaments and adjust accordingly.
Again, our goal is to look after the safety and security of all involved, while also providing a pathway to allow our student-athletes to compete for national championships in which they have worked so hard for.
Yours in sport,
Dr. Christopher J. Parker
NJCAA President & CEO
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