At least one group of football players will push competition until spring 2021 amid coronavirus concerns. The National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to announce Monday that it will move to a spring football season, two head coaches told The Athletic. CBS Sports is also reporting the eventual announcement. Under the current plan, JUCO teams would play up to eight games, with preseason practices beginning on March 1 and the regular season beginning at the end of March and extending through the end of May.
Sunday’s reports don’t come as too much of a surprise. The NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council recommended moving a majority of athletic competitions to the spring of 2021 last Thursday, but added their decision would be finalized by the following Monday. That’s when the SEC Athletic Directors are expected to meet, too.
“We would like to play football this fall. But I think from a national perspective, moving it is probably the right decision holistically,” NJCAA president and CEO Dr. Christopher Parker told The Athletic.
While the move obviously affects the actual season for these teams and athletes, it also has lasting implications on the recruiting trail. Here’s what KSR’s Nick Roush had to say regarding the impact a delayed junior college season could have on Kentucky and its sole JUCO commitment, Joko Willis.
If junior college football is delayed to the spring, Kentucky could still sign its current JUCO football commitment, linebacker Joko Willis. Instead of signing in December, Willis and any other JUCO products UK is recruiting would in theory sign at a later date, prior to the conclusion of the signing period Aug. 1.
By delaying the football season until the spring, it may delay the arrival of JUCO players on UK’s campus. Terry Wilson, Lonnie Johnson and Stephen Johnson all enrolled for the spring semester, giving them a head-start on their first season of SEC football. There may be scenarios where players graduate early and skip the spring JUCO football season all together to get on a college campus as soon as possible. Nevertheless, the inevitable delay of JUCO football is another hurdle forcing college football programs to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic.
The hurdles just don’t stop.