FORT MYERS, Fla.- After a series of one after another bad news reports regarding COVID-19 ended their 2019-2020 athletics year in March, the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers got some good news on Thursday as the FCSAA Council of Presidents approved the NJCAA and the FCSAA AD's plans to play the 2020-2021 seasons as planned, beginning in August.
Last Friday, the NJCAA Board of Regents approved the organization's 'The Path for 2020-21 NJCAA Sports' document that outlined a safe, return to play path for teams, staff, and spectators. The document outlined a number of different topics including safety, adjusted sport seasons, and new protocols, among others.
The safety plan included a detailed, 32 page document for members with recommended protocols in a number of different areas. Some of the more visible changes for fans on game day will be, the discontinuation of pre and post-game handshakes between teams, a postponement of traditions like players going into the stands, or into the arena lobby after games to greet fans, and Volleyball teams remaining on the same side of the court during the duration of the match instead of switching sides after sets.
The overall FSW athletics timeline was altered just a little bit by the changes. Volleyball was unchanged, while the Bucs' Basketball teams will now be allowed to begin official practice two weeks earlier than usual and also begin regular season competition on October 16th as opposed to the usual November 1st date. However, with schedules already set for the upcoming season, both FSW teams may choose to stay with their original start date at the beginning of November. There were only small tweaks to the Baseball and Softball calendar, pushing competition dates in the Fall back to September 5th and culminating on October 31st.
FSW Athletics and the FSW Administration has been hard at work developing further measurements to insure that fans, student-athletes, and staff all remain as safe as possible this season while participating in and watching contests at Suncoast Credit Union Arena and City of Palms Park. As soon as those plans are finalized, we will certainly pass along those measures to you.