Erick Burns said the deadline to begin preparing for a scheduled January restart of fall sports at Yuba College is fast approaching.
Despite the latest figures on coronavirus and where the county is on the state’s tiered system, Burns said the plan is for the 49ers to participate in a spring season.
“The plan currently is to not opt out unless most, if not all, other (California Community Colleges at least regionally don’t also opt out,” Burns said in an email. “Football will be considered separately from the other fall sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball), and the spring sports will be considered separately and later than all of those sports as well. We have a few challenges to figure out and overcome before making the opt in/out decision, but we are working on those now.”
Perhaps the biggest hurdle right now, Burns said, is fundraising for COVID-19 testing each week for all its players and coaches.
Some teams have already begun fundraising on their own.
Burns said there’s also many more obstacles facing the program ahead of the decision to move forward.
“The primary issue is the impact of required testing. Figuring out how to fund it, how to implement it ... We will also need to address the challenge of transportation while social distancing (using more buses/vehicles),” he said. “We will need to recreate sport schedules, as a couple programs have already opted out. Other challenges have included accommodating students not living in the immediate area (and) the inability to do some of our traditional fundraising efforts.”
And what about the fans?
Will people be able to watch the games this year?
Burns said in all likelihood, no.
“We’ll need to develop a streaming platform for spectators since they won’t be allowed to attend, but this is a positive as we had identified this as a next step for Yuba Athletics before COVID,” Burns said. “Overall, we are holding up, being productive. I’m grateful to the students who have stayed engaged, they are a support system for each other. I worry about those students who have chosen to disengage from their team and teammates.”