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Gulf Coast A.D. reacts to NJCAA sliding fall sports back to the spring semester

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:42 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -There is a good side and a bad side, says Gulf Coast A.D. Mike Kandler, when it comes to the the NJCAA’s decision announced Monday. The governing body of Juco athletics across the country moving fall sports, like volleyball back to the spring semester. And it’s pushing back winter sports, like basketball, to a start date in January. Ordinarily the hoops season begins in late October. All the teams will get 60 days to practice during the fall, so the athletes and coaches can still work on their sport. But again, no games of any sort until we hit 2021.

"My reaction was good and bad." coach Kandler told me Tuesday morning as we spoke on campus. "I think what they did really was probably the best and really was well thought out. And probably the best plan they could have put forward under the circumstances. I think there are still so many unknowns that to start seasons, and then having to stop them or probably all that. What we've got at least we bought some time. And maybe we could have the seasons in the spring and have a continuous season and everything will work out that way."

So that's the good of al it all, as for the bad?

"The negative is, and it's really not their fault, really to me it's kind of 'it' now." Kandler said. "We've played all of our cards, this is it. Come January hopefully everything in the world has changed, for the better. And we're able to kind of forget about this virus, or will have it under control or whatever it will be. But if we're still having the same problems in January, then we have no other moves. That's kind of it. If we can't play in January we're not going to be playing at all, and that gets really scary."

Don't get him wrong, coach Kandler isn't criticizing the move, again saying the NJCAA didn't have too many options, given the way things are right now across the country, and especially where COVID cases may be blooming.

"You know when you're starting to hear all the different...we are going to play but...we want to have practice but...with all those buts and all those conditions they were putting on it, almost made it impossible, the practicality of having a game versus the CDC guidelines and all these things. They just didn't really match up. So this bought us some time to figure some more things out."

And when it comes to fans being able to come to matches, games, well there’s that positive aspect to sliding back to spring, says Kandler

“Yeah I think realistically now had we started our volleyball season, I really can’t imagine doing it with fans.  We’re still under whatever it is, phase 2, and we don’t seem to be going to phase 3 anytime soon. You know with the number of cases that there are out there now. So I think again, to play a game in February that you can play under normal conditions to me is more appealing than playing a game now where you have to have 1 million different rules put in. That really weren’t, to be honest with you, They weren’t doable.

And as far as looking ahead, well the coach says he’s excited about the prospect of spring athletics on his campus!

”If we can have fans and all that it’s just going to be a different deal I can imagine some fun days at Gulf Coast, we could have five sports going on in one day. We could do like the 24 hours of Le Mans or whatever that is. We might start a volleyball game at eight in the morning and just stay out here all day. And At midnight we finished up with the softball game. So there can be a lot of fun with it, it’s going to be a busy spring.”

Coach Kandler is optimistic given the allowance of 60 days for teams to practice in the fall, that way athletes won’t fall completely out of shape. And it keeps coaches together with their players.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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