The management committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association is looking at 2021 for the opening of its 96th season.
This follows the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force throughout the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that no sporting events can push through for the rest of the year.
For Season 95 chairman Peter Cayco, the Grand Old League has no other choice but to follow the protocols which will be set by the government for the duration of the year.
“Right now, we are following the directives of the IATF. Nagsabi na sila na there will be no sports activities until the end of the year.”
If sporting activities are allowed to resume by December 2020 or January 2021, that does not mean that business will immediately pick up for the league.
Most likely, the student-athletes will be out of shape and will need at least three months to get into game shape.
But an April start will not be ideal, as there is the Holy Week break. Moreover, majority of the league’s universities will be on summer break by then.
“If for example January 1, puwede na sports activities, ‘yung atleta natin puro wala sa kondisyon ‘yan. Of course, alam naman natin na iba ‘yung practice shape sa game shape. Siguro it would take at least three months to get them back in shape. That would be March already. Then, Holy Week na on April,” Cayco shared.
“That is why we are looking at May or June for Season 96.”
With the 2020 season, which is hosted by Colegio de San Juan de Letran, looking less feasible as the days go by, the ManCom is recommending to the Grand Old League’s Policy Board that they move forward to the next year.
If Season 96 does not push through, this will be the first time since 1962 that will see the league not play a tournament.
“Yes, it will be a new school year na. What’s on the table now that we want the Policy Board to approve is we move Season 96 to 2021. Then we would host ‘friendlies’, meaning pre-season games na parang Filoil among NCAA schools,” he said.
Besides this, the league’s priority for Season 96 is for all its member schools to play in all four mandatory sports — namely basketball, volleyball, track and field, and swimming.
Still, everything remains up in the air for what lies ahead for Season 96.
“Mahirap to talk about this right now because everything is hanging in the air. Sabi ko na lang we should brace for the worst. If mapaaga, eh ‘di very good!”