Lady Jets’ trip to NJCAA National Tournament Cancelled
Published 8:03 pm Monday, March 16, 2020
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – Following the recent recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has made the difficult decision to cancel all upcoming basketball championships, as well as spring competition, effective immediately. That includes the NJCAA Division I national tournament in Lubbock, TX, in which the 30 – 2 South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets had earned the right to participate in.
“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.”
Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.
“We are really disappointed we won’t have the opportunity to represent the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) at the national tournament,” said SGTC women’s head basketball coach James Frey.
“Of all the teams I have been able to take out there, this was the team I thought had a legitimate opportunity to advance in the tournament with a few breaks,” said Frey. “My heart is broken for the young ladies who bought into everything we asked them to do on and off the court and did so with fantastic attitudes. They always trusted what I told them. They believed that if they did the things we asked, they would be in Lubbock in March and they earned that. I can’t thank them enough for their faithfulness and dedication. This is a special group, including my new assistants, Demetrius Colson and Ciarra Edwards, who were new to our program and to me specifically. They had to learn how I operated and what my expectations were. They definitely did those things and I could not have imagined a better group to work with. I appreciate their efforts this year more than they know,” added Frey.
With all of that said, Coach Frey added that he completely understand Dr. Chris Parker’s decision and applauded him for taking a wait and see approach to things originally. “I know he definitely wanted to play if at all possible,” said Frey. “At the end of the day, our country, heck our world, is in a life and death battle with an enemy we are not used to. We have to think about not just our safety but the safety of those we come in contact with. It is critical to follow the instructions that our government and health experts are sending out.”
In spite of the disappointment of seeing his club’s dreams of competing for a national championship shattered, Coach Frey is ready to gear up for next year.
“We will be OK as a team. We will work on 20 – 21 when we’re allowed to again and we will work non-stop to make sure our sophomores end up at the four-year schools they deserve. We just have to accept we are in a very unusual time and get through this together,” said Frey.
NJCAA President and CEO Dr. Chris Parker added that no spring sport student-athletes who were enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation. Dr. Parker also mentioned that along with the cancellation of competition, all on and off-campus recruiting for all sports will be halted until April 15, with further evaluation to be assessed at that point in time.
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. The eligible committee is set to meet on Thursday, March 19, to review potential Letters of Intent increases.