The NWAC announced Thursday that it is pushing much of the fall sports season into the winter and spring quarters because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A color-coded phase system will be used for all sports during the 2020-21 school year. The system incudes:
• Gray — A two-week quarantine in the school's county.
• Red — Limited group practice with up to 10 participants.
• Yellow — Modified team practices with up to 50 participants.
• Green — Full practices and games.
• Blue — All clear.
The first four phases add restrictions for vulnerable individuals, while the final phase removes spectator and participant restrictions.
"We have been thoughtful, comprehensive, flexible, and listened to our constituents. It is time to move forward," NWAC executive director Marco Azurdia said in a release. "The plan pushed the conversations with our member college administrators thus leading to the Executive Board's decision. We have said from the beginning that flexibility, creativity, adaptability, and patience are essential to the success of our return to play."
Yakima Valley College announced last week that it was canceling its fall sports schedule, which includes practices and competitions for women's soccer and volleyball and preseason preparation for basketball.
Women's soccer will now begin Feb. 3 with games starting a month later and the season wrapping up in early June. Volleyball will start in late February and finish the same time as women's soccer. Cross country and golf, for which YVC doesn't field teams, will remain in the fall with modified schedules.
Basketball will reach its green phase in mid-February and finish three months later.
The GNAC plans to announce its course for the upcoming school year July 17, while the WIAA on Tuesday pushed back the start of fall sports two weeks and could modify that decision with its next announcement scheduled for July 22.