NJCAA pushes back its 2021 wrestling season, with NJCAA Nationals now April 23-24

By NJCAA | June 20, 2020, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has announced its plan for the 2020-21 athletic season, making some changes in how it conducts various sports programs.

One of the sports most affected is wrestling, which is having its season pushed back later into the 2021 year. Here is the specific changes made by the NJCAA:

* The 2020-21 NJCAA Wrestling season has been altered to protect the best interest for student-athlete health and safety. NJCAA Wrestling programs will be permitted to hold fall practice starting October 1, 2020, concluding October 31, 2020. Regular season practice will be permitted to begin starting January 1, 2021. Competition will be permitted to begin starting January 20, 2021. The 2021 NJCAA Wrestling Championship will be held April 23-24 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, IA.

Traditionally, the NJCAA season is similar to those of both the NCAA and NAIA, a two-semester sport, concluding traditionally with the NJCAA Nationals in late February or early March.

Here is the text of the entire press release by the NJCAA:

Charlotte, NC - As the 2020-21 academic and athletic year approaches, the NJCAA has released a plan of action for the fall and winter sports season in response to COVID-19. The NJCAA National Office, along with the NJCAA Health and Safety Council, has also issued a list of safety protocol recommendations for member colleges during regular season competition and championship events.

Fall 2020 Sports Season

At this time, the NJCAA will proceed with fall championship sports beginning practice and competition as planned. For the following sports, the start date for practice will be August 1, 2020, and the first competition date will be August 20, 2020:

Men's and Women's Cross Country
Football
Men's and Women's Half Marathon
Men's and Women's Soccer
Women's Tennis (Division III)
Court Volleyball
Fall 2020 Championships

The NJCAA National Office and the Championship Events Committee have evaluated the championship locations awarded for the 2020-21 academic year in regards to student-athlete health and safety. Due to growing travel concerns and local re-opening regulations, the NJCAA National Office and Championship Events Committee are seeking new locations for the following championships:

2020 NJCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship
2020 NJCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship
2020 NJCAA Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships
2020 NJCAA Men's and Women's Half Marathon Championships

Originally scheduled for November 16-21, the 2020 NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship in Evans, GA will now be held from November 18-23. The change comes due to conflicts with the rescheduled 2020 Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA.

The NJCAA has provided safety protocol recommendations for fall championship hosts. For a full list of safety protocol recommendations for regular season competition, facilities and equipment, and fall championship hosts, visit: Safety Protocol Recommendations.

Fall 2020 Non-Championship Sports

To allow member colleges adequate time for proper health and safety precautions as student-athletes return to campus, the NJCAA will condense the fall non-championship season for the following sports:

Baseball
Beach Volleyball
Men's and Women's Golf
Men's and Women's Lacrosse
Softball
Tennis (Division I Women's, Division I Men's, Division III Men's)
All fall non-championship sports will be permitted to begin fall practice starting August 31, 2020. Fall competition will be permitted to begin starting September 5, 2020 concluding October 31, 2020.

Winter 2020-21 Sports Season

The NJCAA National Office and Board of Regents have carefully considered the winter 2020-21 sports season. With growing uncertainty and the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 later this year, the following changes have been made:

* The 2020-21 NJCAA Men's and Women's Basketball seasons will be permitted to begin practice starting September 14, 2020. Competition will be permitted to begin starting October 16, 2020. All member colleges are encouraged to adjust schedules as needed to limit competition between the Thanksgiving holiday and January 1, 2021.
* The 2020-21 NJCAA Wrestling season has been altered to protect the best interest for student-athlete health and safety. NJCAA Wrestling programs will be permitted to hold fall practice starting October 1, 2020, concluding October 31, 2020. Regular season practice will be permitted to begin starting January 1, 2021. Competition will be permitted to begin starting January 20, 2021. The 2021 NJCAA Wrestling Championship will be held April 23-24 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, IA.
* The 2020-21 NJCAA Men's and Women's Bowling, Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving, and Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field seasons will be permitted to begin practice starting October 1, 2020. Competition will be permitted to begin starting October 30, 2020. All member colleges are encouraged to adjust schedules as needed to limit competition between the Thanksgiving holiday and January 1, 2021.

Spring 2021 Sports Season

At this time, the NJCAA will proceed with spring championship sports beginning practice and competition as planned. As the spring season approaches, the NJCAA National Office will provide additional guidance on any possible changes as necessary.

Student-Athlete Return to Campus

For the 2020-21 academic year, NJCAA member schools will be permitted to open dorms to all student-athletes (fall, winter, spring sports) beginning July 18, 2020. The accelerated move-in date will allow member colleges to institute a 14-day quarantine period for student-athletes and implement extra safety precautions as necessary prior to the August 1 start date for fall practice.

For the year 2020-21 an exception will be allowed to Article V, Section 7 of the NJCAA Bylaws. This exception will allow member colleges to provide or pay for student-athlete COVID-19 testing, if they so choose. At this time, this exception will only apply for the 2020-21 academic year but will be reviewed as needed.

Tryouts and Auditions

To implement social distancing, an extension will be allowed for tryout and audition durations and maximums for fall 2020 sports only. Fall 2020 tryouts and auditions may be held over a two-day period with no more than 10 prospective student-athletes participating at a time. Auditions may not exceed two hours per individual.

As the 2020-21 academic and athletic year begins, the NJCAA National Office and Board of Regents will continue to monitor COVID-19 and consider how changing circumstances could impact NJCAA member colleges and student-athletes. It is the goal of the NJCAA to provide a pathway to allow opportunities for student-athletes across the country while keeping health and safety a priority. The NJCAA will provide additional updates and information as needed.

For all NJCAA COVID-19 updates, visit: NJCAA COVID-19 Homepage