Cloudy Future of Junior College Athletics

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. — For ICC spring head coaches, last week’s news of canceled spring sports produces a lot of questions for what the future will look like.

“It’s going to be unique all across the board, from division one, division two, division three, NAIA and junior college with this extra class added in,” said ICC baseball coach Brett Kelley. “We may have a crop of freshman next fall that haven’t played in a year.”

“This spring season is when I would go out and look at a lot of juniors and those underclassmen and start to build those relationships,” said ICC softball coach Heather Doty. “It will be interesting because I don’t know if summer sports are going to happen. And thats when a lot of my recruiting for those next classes happen.”

This spring there will be no fans in those stands, no players in that softball dugout. And there will be no baseball games played on this diamond behind me. The ICC coaches say this not only takes a toll on them, but also their players.

“It’s heartbreaking, because some of my sophomores were just going to go on to school,” said Doty. “They were ready to be done and this be their last hoorah, and they don’t get that.”

“I feel terrible, and I know a lot of coaches do feel terrible for the student athletes and their spring sports, both college and high school,” said Kelley. “It really is a trying time for them.”

“Going into this sophomore season, I kind of had a plan. Have a good year, move on and try to finish my degree at a four year college,” said ICC sophomore baseball player Logan Peterson. “And after this decision of canceling the season, it just all kind of went to nothing. I have no idea what I’m going to do. One day you go from having a plan and knowing what you’re going to do in life, and then the next day you just have no clue.”

So what is the message to these junior college sophomores who have to re-evaluate their academic and athletic futures?

“Our message is you always got to be flexible in our program, you gotta fly by the seat of your pants, some things change and this is a great example of that,” said Doty. “Because things are changing moment by moment, not just day by day or week by week. Hopefully we have equipped them to be able to handle this.”

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