Erika Endrijonas, superintendent-president of Pasadena City College has postponed the return of sports to PCC until spring 2021.
Endrijonas, who is also acting chair for the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), confirmed that she will be implementing the CCCAA Conventional plan to postpone sports at PCC.
“As an organization statewide, we studied this issue and in early June came up with four different scenarios in which there might be sports depending on the trajectory of COVID,” Endrijonas said. “Based on the fact that various counties, including L.A. County would not allow for athletics, the statewide organization board voted to postpone all athletic competitions until spring 2021.”
Even though the CCCAA is a governing body for community college sports, it does not have the authority to prevent any community college from participating in competitive sports. The Los Angeles countyandPasadena public health requirement of ensuring proper infection control, is the reason athletic competition has been delayed.
In order for sports to be reinstated at PCC, three criterias will have to be met, according to Endrijonas. First, there would need to be a significant number of colleges engaging in sports.
“If a college says OK, all the rest of the colleges in the state are going to follow these guidelines, and we’re not,” Endrijonas said. “Who are we going to play against?”
Secondly, colleges would have to meet L.A County public health guidelines for reopening youth sports leagues and those guidelines were amended Aug. 20 to include collegiate sports. Currently, PCC cannot meet these guidelines.
“Both the Pasadena Health Department as well as the L.A. County Health Department, have said the only activities where individuals can come together on a college or high school campus are for essential workers,” Endrijonas said. “Athletics is awesome and I’m a huge supporter but it’s not essential.”
The third criteria needed to reinstate competitive sports is the ability to ensure the health and safety of the staff and student body, which Endrijonas said she couldn’t do.
“While we could do practices at social distance, it would also require cleaning and disinfecting all the equipment [between uses],” Endrijonas said. “If just one player tested positive for COVID, the entire thing would have to shut down.”
Although the health and safety of the student body is a real concern for PCC athletics, the continued shutdown of competitive sports isn’t just a health issue. It also affects the athlete’s future. Mario Urbina, a sophomore and child development major who plays on PCC’s men’s soccer team was hoping for a chance to get the attention of scouts at four-year universities this season.
“I was hoping that when we play teams like Mt. Sac or Cerritos, they do show up to watch,” Urbina said. “I was hoping that they would see me.”
PCC sophomore and distance runner Olivia Ruiz is happy to see the administration’s caution and concern for the health and safety of student-athletes, but with the school’s plans for the spring 2021 sports re-start, she’s concerned about the increased possibility of injury.
“Usually between cross-country and track, there’s a gap to not train as hard,” Ruiz said. “But for this season coming up, it’s going to jump right from cross-country into track, but I’m hoping I just don’t get injured.”
Until the county and local government remove social distancing requirements, the future of competitive contact and non-contact sports at PCC is on hold, according to Endrijonas.
When asked if it will take a vaccine to get players back on the field, Endrijonas said, “That is a huge question that I cannot answer.”
However she would personally take a safe vaccine if one was available.
“What I can tell you is that when a safe vaccine is ready, I will get vaccinated. I believe in vaccinations,” Endrijonas said, “How we implement those [vaccines] and require them as an institution and as a CCCAA, there are a lot of questions we have to answer,” Endrijonas said. “We need to know everything.”
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