Cleveland State Student-Athletics Set To Launch January 2021

Cleveland State Student-Athletics Set To Launch January 2021

Thursday, November 5, 2020 12:00 AM

(Cleveland, Tennessee) – After the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association made nationwide rulings this year on athletic competition at member institutions due to COVID-19, Cleveland State Community College Athletic Director Mike Policastro had work to do.

With the Cougars and Lady Cougars participating in eight different championship sports at Cleveland State, scheduling became a top priority for Policastro. In his 25th year at the helm of the college’s athletic offerings, things haven’t been quite as chaotic as would be expected in 2020.

“When this (COVID-19) all first hit in March, we were pretty much set as far as all of our recruiting went for our sports,” said Policastro. “With the student-athletes basically in place, next we had to figure out what we would be doing and when we’d be doing it.”

Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s Baseball, Women’s Softball, Men’s Golf, and Women’s Volleyball are now scheduled to begin competition beginning in 2021. It all kicks-off with Men’s and Women’s Basketball in January. “Cross-Country (men’s and women’s) usually only competes in the fall,” added Policastro, “Since they wouldn’t be able to compete this year, we are treating this as a practice season for them. We did not want them to lose a year of eligibility. However, we are planning on taking part in some practice meets this year.”

During the first month of the Fall 2020 semester at Cleveland State, small group workouts were allowed for athletics. No more than four or five players were present at one time. “We did a phased-in return to play program to make sure all of our procedures were working the way they should be,” said Policastro. “This past week, full teams practiced together for the first time since March. Scrimmages can begin to take place through the end of the year to get ready for live competition at the start of 2021.”

Currently, there are two sets of schedules in place for athletics at Cleveland State, a primary and a secondary schedule. The primary is a full-slate of games consisting of in and out-of-state competition. The secondary schedule is for only in-state competition. If competition remains on schedule to launch in January, regulations on both the state and national level could still possibly rule out any out-of-state competition once play begins in 2021. So, the Cougars and Lady Cougars have both sets of schedules in place and ready to go.

“As of right now, out-of-state competition will not be taking place,” said Policastro. “However, we should know more by January 1 if that is going to change in any way. We are taking a ‘hoping the worst is behind us and the best is ahead of us’ approach. We simply want these student-athletes who have worked hard to get where they are to have a chance to compete. But, we are going to be safe and smart about everything we do in the process.”

Scheduling facilities for the different competition usually takes places on different days of the week, so Cleveland State isn’t anticipating many issues on that front. Volleyball competes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Basketball competes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Baseball and Softball usually play on Fridays and Saturdays.

Currently, 126 student-athletes will be competing in the college’s eight different athletic offerings at Cleveland State. The Cougar and Lady Cougar athletic programs compete in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) and are members of the NJCAA.

For more information on Cleveland State Community College, call 423.472.7141 or visit the college at Students are currently enrolled online and on-campus through the CSCC main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as CSCC’s Athens Center in Athens, Tennessee and Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tennessee.

CSCC earned the Tennessee Board of Regent’s 2019 College Of The Year. CSCC directly serves Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk Counties in Tennessee. The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving more than 140,000 students.


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