May 5—Sports are expected to return in full to Bakersfield College and junior colleges throughout California during the 2021-22 school year.
The CCCAA announced on Wednesday that it is "preparing for a full-scale return for the 2021-22 school year, providing 25 state championships across 24 intercollegiate sports" for colleges throughout California.
This will open the door for all 20 varsity teams at Bakersfield College to return in the fall. Several teams have come back for abbreviated seasons in 2021 but none will be competing for state championships and all will be finished by the end of May.
"I think it's great," BC Athletic Director Reggie Bolton said of the news. "I think the time off because of COVID has really been tough on our student-athletes and coaches. So I think the fact that the CCCAA has finally come out and said (they're) moving forward putting together seasons, putting together schedules is just exciting.
"It's a great move by the CCCAA to do it now, so we can plan for it."
It is currently unknown how many fans will be able to attend games in the fall. In its release, the CCCAA stated: "We recognize that we will be managing with the pandemic for the foreseeable future and we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved with our sports. Safety will always come first. However, we will mitigate the challenges to the best of our abilities, just as we have done while navigating these unprecedented times."
Bakersfield College recently revealed a three-tiered plan to gradually allow fans back into sporting events, and are currently in the second tier, which allows each student-athlete to have two spectators in attendance. Visiting fans are still not permitted at BC athletic events.
Phase three would allow full capacity with a mask mandate if California were to be open with no restrictions from the Institute of Higher Education, CCCAA or Kern County Public Health.
CCCAA guidelines are determined based on the recommendations of the Institute of Higher Education.
Though health concerns will persist and it's hard to know what exactly the fall will look like, Bolton says it will be a relief to know that any kind of competition will take place, adding that there's been a widespread sense of relief that a full schedule will be taking place starting in the fall.
"There was a lot of people helping us throughout this process, giving our athletes a chance to participate," he said. "And now that the CCCAA has opened up and said we're going forward, we're just so excited to welcome the fans back, the student-athletes back, the coaches. We're really looking forward to next fall."