Season 96 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association will be held in the early months of 2021.
Officials of incoming host Colegio de San Juan de Letran made their decision known yesterday with the government still not allowing many sports activities to take place in the next three months as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The time and date on the beginning of the new season, remains unknown, as league officials will still wait for the greenlight coming from the government and authorities at the Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“This is subject to the decision of the government and the IATF for the favorable conduct of the games,” said host school in a letter signed by NCAA policy board chairman Fr. Rev. Fr. Clarence Marquez, OP, and Rector-President of Letran, and Mancom chief Fr. Victor Calvo.
Marquez added that the league will strictly observe safety and health protocols when the season commences.
This will be the first time since World War II that the league will start after having been disrupted for a long period of time.
“It remained the NCAA’s top priority to ensure the safety and health of athletes, coaches and trainers, and the general viewing public,” said Marquez.
Season 96 could not be started this July, since the IATF recommended that no sports activities take place for the rest of 2020 while the country deals with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
No venue for games are available at the moment, with the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila being used as quarantine facilities for the sick, along with the Arena in San Juan, and the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Because of this, only four mandatory sports events will be held, and these are basketball, volleyball, swimming and athletics.
The league also decided to relax eligibility requirement for student- athletes, with consideration for those who have already used up their playing years, and those who haven’t.
And this will be in terms of age, enrolment, grades and playing years.
Officials are still deliberating on the inclusion of online games, like chess and e-sports.
This will be the first time in eight decades that the league will skip holding the games for at least a year.
The last time it happened was during when World War II when no competitions were held from 1942 to 1946.