Sports can return to CSUMB and CSUs this fall, says CCAA

Women's volleyball team

Women's volleyball team

May 6, 2021

By Walter Ryce

The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Board of Presidents announced on May 4 that they intend to proceed with a traditional conference schedule beginning in the fall of 2021.

“We will be monitoring the [COVID-19] situation as it unfolds over the coming weeks and months and make any adjustments as necessary,” said Dr. William Covino, President of Cal State LA and the chair of the CCAA Board of Presidents.

The CCAA plans to align with the CSU system’s guidance, procedures and best practices to uphold the health and safety of campus communities.

CSUMB Athletic Director Kirby Garry described the feelings of the campus coaches and athletes to the news as a “healthy mix of pure joy, relief and anxiety for what the fall will actually look like.”

“This past year away has taken a toll on our programs like so many others at CSUMB and across the CSU,” Garry continued. “But our student-athletes have been amazingly resilient. They’ve stayed enrolled, engaged and on track toward their degrees.”

If in-person sports didn’t return to campus this fall, Garry believes it would have been more difficult to retain student-athletes, that recruiting would have taken a big hit, and CSUMB’s NCAA DII status would have experienced a setback.

He said CSUMB’s decision to not compete this past year was grounded in health and safety priorities, followed scientific guidance, and regarded student-athletes as students first.

During the downtime brought on by the pandemic, coaches and student-athletes worked on personal and professional development, and have been otherwise staying actively engaged.

Moe Melhart, Head Women's Volleyball Coach, said, "Not having a season this past year, not being able to train, compete, and grow together was a challenge." But, she continued, student-athletes in particular worked on their personal growth, found jobs, developed other of their passions and tried new things.

"Our 2021 roster is incredibly deep and talented and full of athletes who understand what it means to go through a year without their sport," Melhart said. "And I believe they will train and play with a greater sense of urgency and gratitude."

Garry said that Tuesday’s announcement brings back an “elite level” of competition to the NCAA Division II: “Our top CCAA programs compete for national championships on an annual basis.”

The 83-year-old CCAA league, made up of 12 CSU campuses, describes itself as “the nation's most successful Division II intercollegiate athletic conference,” with 154 NCAA Championships.

The CCAA will provide more information at a later date, and says that spectator protocols will be determined by individual campuses.

Garry said CSUMB will do what it can to allow families of student-athletes a chance to attend events, likely with measures such as masking and limiting attendance based on capacity, and that the state of vaccinations will play a major role. He also emphasizes that the live video streaming on the CCAA Network will be more important than ever this year.