Some Coaches Want Sports Back on Campus- The Answer Isn’t Exactly No

The California Department of Public Health set guidelines for sports during COVID which golf coach Greg Osbourne says can be achieved for a safe return of some sports

By Lilrizz – Personal Photo, CC0,

In July 2020, amid California’s Stay At Home Orders, the California Community College Athletic Association announced a Contingency Plan in which fall athletics would be postponed until spring 2021.

Sports such as football, cross country, women’s golf and any other sport that was expected to play during the fall semester will not be allowed to return until February even if they follow guidelines.

Greg Osbourne, Mt. SAC Women’s Golf coach, said that golf can safely follow all of the guidelines to return and that students can follow health recommendations and still play the sport.

The guidance given by the California Department of Public Health as to how to make returning to sports safer includes smaller groups, outdoor locations, sports that allow athletes to stay six feet apart, short duration, face coverings on the sidelines and limited traveling. These are all precautions Osbourne said can be followed with golf.

“They park in the parking lot, come to the gate, they have a mask on, [they are on] a separate green, and I can talk to them from a distance. We have enough holes. Everybody can come and practice on their hole from a distance,” said Osbourne.

College athletics will only be allowed to resume in the spring as long as certain guidelines are met, these being that colleges make and follow a “return to play” safety plan, the regular COVID-19 testing of athletes and requires that guidelines are followed that would isolate students that tested positive for COVID-19.

The California Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Institutions of Higher Education website states that, “implementation of this guidance as part of a phased reopening will depend on improving or favorable local epidemiological trends and health care capacity availability of IHE and community testing resources, and adequate IHE preparedness to respond to case and outbreak investigations.”

The campus closure is continuous due to L.A. County still being under tier four of the California Reopening Tiers because of the continuous spread of the virus in the state.

“All golf courses right now are open. Private country clubs and public country clubs are all open. Everybody is playing golf and I cannot teach on our putting green. It is absolutely ridiculous,” Osbourne said.

Osbourne said that he understands the rules for sports returning back to campus is nothing that can be controlled by the Mt. SAC administration and it is out of their hands. They are just following guidelines that they are required to follow.

According to the CCCAA website, “The Contingency Plan originally had men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s golf competing in the fall but was slightly modified in its latest version to move those three sports to the spring with the remainder of the CCCAA’s 24 sports.”

As the spread of the virus changes, these guidelines and requirements may also change.