NCAA determined to push through with new season despite pandemic challenges

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THE National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is determined to push through with its new season despite the challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, NCAA Management Committee Chairman Fr. Vic Calvo of Season 96 host Letran moved to assure that the league is in the process of setting the stage for its new season in close collaboration with its partners.

“The season will definitely push through,” said Mr. Calvo, adding they are targeting a season kickoff sometime in May.

He, however, said some modifications are to be expected as they try to adapt to the present conditions with the pandemic.

“The NCAA is looking to at least hold two to four online and hybrid competitions,” the long-time league official said.

Mr. Calvo said online events for chess and taekwondo are being readied just as they are working on the possibility of holding basketball and volleyball competitions this year.

“We have reached out to pertinent authorities to discuss ways to make things work. We’re still waiting for their response,” he said, referring to, among others, the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education.

He shared that at this point of rising coronavirus cases things got trickier for them, but they are not losing hope and vowed to be creative in going about holding the season.

“We’re not going to give up. The NCAA embodies the Filipinos’ resilience and perseverance particularly in sports. The coronavirus is a serious matter, but if we can find ways to still function in a safe manner, we should go for it. We have to learn to adapt with the new normal,” Mr. Calvo said.

The NCAA, Mr. Calvo said, has been coordinating closely with new television partner GMA-7 for their upcoming season.

“GMA has been supportive of the league since we partnered with them. Almost every day we have been meeting with them on how we are going to present the season. And we’re satisfied with the developments,” he said.

The NCAA formalized its partnership with GMA late last year after the league’s former TV home, ABS-CBN, was forced to shut down in May 2020.

Both the league and GMA expressed excitement over the linkup as they look to build on each other’s brands to help further grow the NCAA and collegiate sports in general.

The country’s oldest collegiate sports league saw its Season 95 come to an abrupt end last year as the coronavirus pandemic started to make its presence felt in the country. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo