Lamar State College Port Arthur's softball season ended Monday afternoon after the National Junior College Athletics Association decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020 spring competition schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
"In light of the progressive evolvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year," stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition. We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes."
The LSCPA Seahawks softball team had concluded its non-conference schedule and was ready to start NJCAA Region 14 play against Blinn College this past Friday when the coronavirus postponements began. A doubleheader scheduled against San Jacinto College on Saturday was also postponed.
With Monday's NJCAA announcement, all practices, regular season, postseason and national championship play are cancelled.
"This is a heartbreaking situation for our team and for all the teams out there who are impacted by this decision," said Seahawks softball head coach Vance Edwards. "We've been discussing this with our players for the past week or so and although they are certainly disappointed that their season is over, they are a mature group of young adults and they understand why it has to be this way."
Regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.
Along with the cancellation of competition, all on and off-campus recruiting for all sports is halted until April 15 with further evaluation to be assessed at that point in time, according to the NJCAA.
The NJCAA will explore the opportunity to expand allowable Letters of Intent for spring sports for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years under the recommendation of the NJCAA Eligibility Committee, which will meet on Thursday, March 19.
"It's a sad situation," Edwards said. "Not only is every individual player affected but so are their parents, our fans, the coaching staff, game officials; the impact spans across a wide area."