By Yetnaleci Maya, Sept. 21 2021

With the recent return of competitive intercollegiate sports this semester, the CPP Athletics Department faces a newly established CCAA forfeiture policy that can result in canceled games that run the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Games or contests will not be rescheduled, which could affect the players who had scouts or recruiters coming to watch them on specific dates. 

The first non-conference game of the season for the CPP women’s soccer team, originally scheduled for Sept. 2, was cancelled shortly after the implementation of the new policy. According to Brian Swanson, director of intercollegiate athletics, the game was cancelled because Point Loma did not have enough players that were cleared to travel. 

 “Point Loma was supposed to come and play an opening game here [at CPP] but they only had 12 cleared eligible players,” said Swanson. “Their campus determined that that wasn’t an appropriate number of players to travel to play a game in case someone got hurt, got a red card or something like that. It really depends a lot on your campus’ decision, that you have enough players that are eligible and healthy to play that game.”  

Because the contest was a non-conference game, it did not affect the team’s league standings. However, once the regular season begins on Oct. 1, this policy would affect a team’s chances of making it to playoffs. 

On Aug. 25, the CCAA implemented the new forfeiture policy, which states if a team does not have enough eligible players to perform due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the game will be cancelled, and it is marked as an automatic loss on that team’s record. The university’s COVID-19 guidelines determine how many games a player must sit out after coming into contact with or testing positive for COVID-19. Depending on how many players remain unexposed to the virus, the university concludes whether the team proceed to play the contest. 

Despite the possible repercussions of this policy for her team this season, Clarissa Sanchez, senior goalie on the CPP women’s soccer team, believes it is a fair and just policy, nonetheless.  

“I think it’s a good way for us to stay safe and definitely keep everyone that you get into contact with safe as well, being that there are 11 girls on each team, and if one person gets into contact with somebody else it just carries along,” said Sanchez. 

Because the criteria that constitutes a “no contest” or forfeiture status of a game depends on each university’s COVID-19 preventative protocols, the CPP Athletics Department follows Los Angeles County COVID-19 guidelines. Therefore, if an athlete on a sports team tests positive for COVID-19, the action taken would be dictated by the athlete’s vaccination status.

Unvaccinated players who come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or tests positive themselves must quarantine for seven days. An additional test is taken on the seventh day of infection, allowing the player to return to practice on the eighth day. If a player that is vaccinated is exposed to the COVID-19 virus and they test negative by the second day of infection, they are eligible to resume playing that same day.  

Even with the strict enforcement of the forfeiture policy, some campus sports, including women’s soccer, are still allowing spectators to attend home games under the university’s COVID-19 preventative guidelines. 

 “We’re excited to have people there. I think everyone that comes has been very respectful of those things as far as the protocols the university has in place,” said Jay Mason, head coach for the women’s soccer team. “I think if we are able to do that, the girls are going to have a great experience to have people there and the fans are going to be able to enjoy watching their sisters or friends or daughters and I think it can all be a positive experience if we all work together.” 

 For further information on the CCAA forfeiture policy for cancelled contests, visit the CCAA Network website. 

Featured image courtesy of Sylwia Bartyzel.

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