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CCAA halts competitive play for spring season

By Arturo Aguirre, Jan. 26, 2021

The CCAA officially announced last month, that there will be no formalized conference or championship play for the 12 California State University campuses within the conference this spring semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite many CPP student-athletes and coaching staff wanting a return to competition, surging COVID-19 cases in the state led to the CCAA prioritizing the safety and health of players and staff.

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brian Swanson worked for months with the CCAA and the NCAA for an opportunity to organize a spring season for student-athletes.

“The presidents of the CCAA planned to meet in late November and early December to look at that and witnessing the trend of us going the opposite way and doubling the cases in LA County, it just seems unlikely,” said Swanson.

Senior outfielder Dante Palacio will be graduating this spring, and will move on from playing baseball for CPP as he heads to graduate school. (Courtesy of Dante Palacio)

CPP student-athletes now once again face the hardship of missing another season of play. Not only does this affect incoming recruits, who have yet to connect with their teams, but also many graduating seniors who now deal with a difficult decision to either continue for an extra year or end their college athletic career.

Dante Palacio, a senior outfielder on the men’s baseball team, lamented the news and is sympathetic toward his fellow senior teammates.

“For me and a lot of my teammates, we have been working hard, preparing nonstop and hearing the news from our coaches was heartbreaking and disappointing,” said Palacio. “I reached out to a lot of our seniors, and I could only imagine being in their position where they got to think about moving on from college baseball and starting their lives.”

In what he described as some of the hardest conversations in his 11 years at CPP, men’s baseball Head Coach Randy Betten, spoke with his players on the possibility that their time playing for the Broncos was over.

“You never want to be the coach that tells you it’s over,” said Betten. “I left it into the hands of the families and told them I was here to listen and give them advice.”

Over 20 senior student-athletes across the baseball and men’s and women’s track and field teams are affected by the CCAA’s spring decision.

Despite canceling competition for spring, the CCAA and NCAA are still discussing the possibility of allowing school teams the chance to participate in socially-distanced training. According to the CCAA’s official statement, this would only be granted with the approval of both university presidents and the CSU system and if it adheres to health regulations.

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