Northwest Athletic Conference delays men’s, women’s basketball seasons

Mens’ and women’s hoops to resume Jan. 17

VANCOUVER — Earlier this week the Northwest Athletic Conference, in consultation with the men’s and women’s basketball committees, representatives from the NWAC Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and the NWAC Executive Board, has decided to delay the start of the men’s and women’s basketball league season from January 5 to the week of January 17. The 2022 Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championship Tournaments will be held March 17-20 and March 26-27 at Everett Community College.

According to NWAC Executive Director Marco Azurdia, “We believe this decision is beneficial to our student-athletes, coaches and the athletic support staff, as the cancelation of games within the NWAC and across the athletic landscape continues. Our goal is get our league games played as they are the most important games on the schedule, give our student-athletes a sense of normalcy as they work towards a championship opportunity, while being a safe as possible.”

Reasons for the decision but not limited to:

*December 2021 has hammered college and professional sports scheduling and based on previous history future indications, January looks concerning before a drop in February and March.

*In light of the new variant it gives the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee time to review and adjust safety protocols for basketball to try and all involved in basketball as safe as possible. Any updates on safety protocols will be posted as soon as they become available.

*The decision gives NWAC student-athletes returning from the holiday break more time to get tested, follow through on safety protocols, and if needed isolate and quarantine. Also with almost all NWAC scheduled games canceled prior to Christmas and the week before New Year’s Day, it allows opportunities for student-athletes to get back into playing condition.

*Region games canceled because a team has COVID-19 will result in a forfeit, loss for that team, and a win for the team who was able to compete. By delaying the season it may help eliminate or reduce the number league games canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

*It is recommended to move the first two weeks of league play to the back of the schedule. This reduces the amount of overall changes to the schedule.

*The current variant of the virus compared to two years ago and even in this fall is different, and with vaccinations involved, NWAC needs to respond accordingly.

*Member college basketball teams need to diligently follow the protocols.

As we have learned from the past two years NWAC will respond and continue to do so as necessary. NWAC fully understands that by making this adjustment it is not fool proof and that issues may pop up. One answer does not fit all. The men’s and women’s basketball committee members and the executive board fully support the move and if needed, will adjust accordingly.