NJCAA pushing football, basketball seasons raises questions for JUCO players

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Diwun Black
Four-star recruit Diwun Black. [Zach Abolverdi]

 

 

Florida’s junior college commits Diwun Black and Deyavie Hammond will have to wait just a bit longer to return to the field. 

The National Junior College Athletic Association announced several changes this week to its 2020-21 athletic calendar, among them the decision to move its college football season to spring. The association also announced basketball games wouldn’t begin until January at the earliest. 

“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” NJCAA President & CEO Dr. Christopher J. Parker said in a new release. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”

The decision comes at an unprecedented time in the country, as sports continue to weigh the implications of competing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the NJCAA decision itself likely won’t have implications on Florida’s recruiting efforts in this class, it will hinder the recruitment of countless junior college athletes around the country.

With the early signing period set for mid-December, and National Signing Day just around the corner, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Division I coaches won’t be able to scout and evaluate as effectively.

“While we are very concerned about the health and safety of our student-athletes, personnel and fans, we believe [the NJCAA] is best served by waiting for other conferences and organizations to make a final decision regarding fall sports,” Parker’s statement continued.

As for Florida’s commits, Black has previously stated he’s on track to enroll in December; Hammond’s status is unknown, but the expectation is he will follow suit. If so, it means any hopes the pair had of seeing the field again prior to enrolling at Florida are now effectively dashed. 

Black reacted to the announcement later Monday, and it didn’t take long for Hammond to echo his message.