College of the Desert gives green light for all sports to return for 2021-22 season

College of the Desert gives green light for all sports to return for 2021-22 season

College of the Desert’s Board of Trustees have approved the return of indoor and high-contact sports for the 2021-22 season.

“I can confirm our Board of Trustees approved the return of soccer, football, basketball and indoor volleyball,” said Marion Champion, public information officer at the college. “Tennis, golf, beach volleyball and cross country were previously approved to return.”

No sports were played at College of the Desert during the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19.

In February, multiple College of the Desert athletes told The Desert Sun that they had been told that the 2021-22 sports seasons for indoor and high-contact sports like football, basketball, volleyball and soccer were going to be canceled. Even though those seasons were seven months away, the students were given early notice so they could choose to transfer if they wanted to, they said.

The school never confirmed or denied the reports that those seasons were in jeopardy for the upcoming school year, but according to athletic director Gary Plunkett’s proposal made to the board during the June 24 meeting, many student-athletes had already chosen to attend other colleges.

The minutes from that Board of Trustees meeting include an agenda item labeled “Fall Sports Return to Campus Proposal” which was put forth by Plunkett.

In the proposal, Plunkett listed the reasons why a return to the playing field was important and that included recent attrition.

“Participation is the key to the continued enrollment, engagement, academic success, and mental health of this student population,” read one of the bullet points in the proposal. “The Athletics program lost over 75 full-time enrolled students from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, and our spring course enrollments are down at least 50% (about 140 total enrolled student-athletes compared to 300).”

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In the proposal, Plunkett also pointed to the fact that college sports at the NCAA level had provided a blueprint for success, and that 45% of Southern California community colleges are already using the guidelines to successfully hold sports this spring such as baseball and softball.

He also noted that every desert high school already returned to action as well and will return to a normal schedule in the fall.

According to Plunkett’s proposal, COD was the only member of the Inland Empire Athletic Conference that had not committed to fall sports, and one of only two members of the Southern California Football Association that had not committed to a fall schedule.

“If we do not participate in the Fall 2021 sports seasons, local graduating high school student-athletes will have to look outside of our district for the opportunity to continue in their sport at the college level. They will find that opportunity at neighboring colleges Mt. San Jacinto, Copper Mountain, Riverside and San Bernardino Valley, all of whom have announced that they are participating in full fall sports schedules,” the proposal stated.

new source: desert sun

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