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One of the last leagues to not cancel play, National Junior College Athletic Association nixes spring sports

SHARE One of the last leagues to not cancel play, National Junior College Athletic Association nixes spring sports

SALT LAKE CITY — As teams and leagues in droves canceled upcoming play last week in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, one league took a different step.

Even as late as last Friday, the National Junior College Athletic Association — which Salt Lake Community College and Snow College are a part of — was planning on just postponing play through April 3, with the postseason basketball tournaments delayed until April 20.

But on Monday, the NJCAA announced it was following other collegiate governing bodies and canceling spring sports altogether, including the basketball tournaments. The announcement came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared Sunday that gatherings of more than 50 people should not take place.

“As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition,” NJCAA president and CEO Christopher Parker said in a statement. “We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes.”

SLCC head men’s basketball coach Kyle Taylor last week praised the NJCAA for not immediately canceling the postseason hoops tournaments (the men’s tournament is commonly referred to as “Hutch,” as it is played in Hutchinson, Kansas), which his team had qualified for.

“Hutch is postponed until the week of April 20,” he wrote on Twitter last Friday. “I love that @NJCAABasketball decided to postpone for everyone’s safety, but not cancel yet. Hit pause and let’s wait and see how the next 3-4 weeks go. Great work and leadership from the @NJCAA!”

As far as eligibility is concerned, the statement said “no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.”

Like the NCAA, the NJCAA announced recruiting visits are banned until April 15.

Under first-year coaches Taylor and Marcilina Grayer, the SLCC men’s and women’s basketball teams had both qualified for their respective national tournaments. The men’s team finished with a record of 29-4 while the women’s team went 22-7.