After further review, we still might see junior college football in Mississippi this fall.
The state’s 14 football schools are keeping their options open.
Teams will try to play a shortened schedule beginning on Oct. 1, the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges announced Friday after a morning conference call among school presidents.
“It gives us the opportunity to move our timeline back, to better evaluate our ability to play this fall,” Itawamba Community College president Dr. Jay Allen said.
A six-game division-only schedule is planned, followed by state playoffs. In a normal year, teams would play nine regular-season games.
But in a pandemic, this is no normal year.
“The MACC will continue to evaluate COVID-19 and its impact on our student-athletes,” the statement noted.
Talking about practice
If all goes well – and the snapshot of current COVID-19 trends in the state are not encouraging – football practice could begin in mid-August.
And if it doesn’t go well? “If it turns out we can’t play, we still have the ability to move into the spring timeframe,” Dr. Allen said.
Earlier this month, the National Junior College Athletic Association decided to move all “close contact” sports to the spring. That included football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.
The Region 23 (Mississippi and Louisiana) representative to the NJCAA Board of Regents voted to abstain on that decision. School presidents in Mississippi had hoped the national organization would delay such a vote for a few more weeks.
Friday’s decision came after consultation with NJCAA officials, Dr. Allen said.
MACC commissioner Steven Martin told the Journal on Friday afternoon that he will present a schedule based on the six-game plan to school presidents sometime next week.
Mississippi’s football schools had previously endorsed a June 19 policy announcement from the NJCAA that called for a shorter fall football season.
That tentative 2020 fall schedule for the state’s teams would have featured eight regular-season games – six division games and two non-division games – beginning on Sept. 10 and wrapping up on Oct. 29.