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Seth Erickson

Oregon Tech dribbles against The Evergreen State College in March 2020.

CORVALLIS – The Cascade Collegiate Conference Council of Presidents voted today to delay the start of conference men’s and women’s basketball action to Jan. 8, the league announced Tuesday.

“With the surge in COVID-19 cases across our footprint and the work still pending with state/local health authorities on our return to play plan, our CoP determined the best path forward was to delay the start of conference basketball until after the first of the year,” stated CCC Commissioner Robert Cashell.

Oregon Tech Athletic Director John Van Dyke responded, “Although I am disappointed that we are having to postpone a portion of our conference schedule, I understand that our athletes’ safety must remain our top priority. I am hopeful that our basketball teams will still be able to have some version of a season that they deserve. I have been impressed with how our players and coaches have chosen to remain positive. It is an impressive testament to their character.”

Originally, conference play was set to begin on Dec. 4.

It was announced last week that the return to play plan includes strict daily wellness screening, weekly PCR testing and stringent procedures for mitigating against the introduction and spread of COVID-19. PCR testing is required for the sports of basketball, wrestling, football, soccer and volleyball.

“While our start dates may have moved, our commitment to doing everything we can to provide competition for our student-athletes in a safe and responsible manner remains our focus,” added Cashell.

A revised men’s and women’s basketball schedule will be available at a later date.

Men’s basketball head coach Justin Parnell added: “Unfortunately we are being delayed again, but we support any decision that is based off the health and safety of our student athletes. Our guys have kept a positive attitude since the NAIA tournament cancellation last year and I expect nothing less from them now.”