HAVERHILL — The Northern Essex Community College Department of Athletics has announced its plans for returning to intercollegiate practice and competition for the 2020-21 athletics season in the wake of COVID-19.

Following the Return to Play plans of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for the 2020-21 sports seasons, the Knights will plan to offer all of their varsity programs during the course of the academic year.

In the fall semester, all of the NECC’s athletic programs will be permitted to practice and hold their non-traditional seasons, while only the cross country and esports teams will participate in regular season competition. The men’s soccer and women’s volleyball regular seasons have been shifted to the spring semester.

The start of competition in basketball will also be delayed to January. All fall practices and competitions will be conducted under strict guidelines.

Students participating in cross country or esports in the fall semester must be enrolled in 12 credits or more to participate, while students practicing with any of NECC’s other varsity teams must be enrolled in classes at the college, but there is not a minimum requirement.

However, all students participating in the spring semester must be enrolled full-time in 12 or more credits.

The adjusted volleyball season is scheduled to begin Jan. 4 and run through early April, while the soccer season will begin March 15 and continue through the month of May. Both teams will train during the fall semester and possibly compete in exhibition contests.

Baseball, softball, golf and track and field seasons will commence as scheduled in the spring 2021, while also being able to conduct their traditional fall seasons.

“Our goal is to facilitate a safe and healthy process that will offer the best experience possible for our student-athletes, while operating within the guidelines of the Commonwealth and following the recommendations of the CDC and local health agencies,” stated Director of Athletics Dan Blair.

All student-athletes will be required to complete the Department of Athletic paperwork packet available. Returning student-athletes may use their current physical on file if it has occurred within the previous 13 months. Complete packets should be returned by email or contacting Director of Athletics Dan Blair (dblair@necc.mass.edu or 978-556-3820) to bring them completed to campus.

Students are encouraged to contact Blair with any questions. Any modification to this information will be made available on the NECC Athletics website www.neccknights.com.

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