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Heartland Athletics prepares for Fall 2020 Season, will begin play in August

June 22, 2020

Heartland Hawks athletics teams have a plan to return to play in the Fall 2020 semester, with the first student athletes returning to practice in August.

Under new guidance of the NJCAA, Heartland’s athletics programs have a roadmap for what Fall sports should look like in the upcoming collegiate season.

The inaugural Hawks Volleyball squad and Hawks Cross Country team will make their debut in August. Women’s Volleyball, Men’s Cross Country and Men’s and Women’s Soccer will begin practice on August 1 with competition to begin as early as August 20.  

The new Men’s Golf team and the Baseball and Softball programs will have a mandatory delayed start of practices and games, which will allow players to start on August 31 with competition to begin on September 5. 

Heartland Baseball and Softball teams saw an early end to their seasons in March when the

NJCAA suspended the collegiate season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The return to play will be with health and safety practices developed from local, state and federal guidelines for safety with recommendations from the NJCAA.

“These past few months have certainly put many things into perspective,” said Heartland Athletics Director Ryan Knox. “Any chance to play competitive college sports is one we won’t take for granted. We will do everything within our power to ensure a safe environment following all CDC, State of Illinois and IDPH guidelines.”

NJCAA Regions will have autonomy to alter schedules, formats and qualifications for tournament play. The current practice, regular season competition, and postseason schedules will allow all NJCAA fall championships to conclude before Thanksgiving.

Heartland’s Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) will begin a phased re-opening in August if conditions meet Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan from the Office of the Governor. Use of the FRC will be monitored so individuals will occupy no more than 25 percent of capacity space to allow for safe distancing and individuals will be expected to comply with College Standard of Care measures.

Written by: Steve Fast