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Future of junior college athletics still unclear due to pandemic

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PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (KRON) — While pro sports leagues and the NCAA work on their pandemic playing plans, junior college athletics are in limbo as well.

In the landscape of collegiate athletics, junior colleges are often an afterthought, but not to the thousands of student-athletes who rely on the two-year programs to fine tune their game, and improve their grades or study skills.

“Oftentimes we’re the positive influence in their life, we’re the stability, we’re the place where they can count on somebody being there for them,” Diablo Valley College head football coach Mike Darr said. “We’re the place where they have a chance for some guidance, some help, a chance to try to change their lives.”

As everything from basic coursework to football practice has moved online at Diablo Valley College, the student-athlete experience has run the gamut.

“We’ve had more 4.0s than we’ve ever had coming out of spring,” Darr said. “And like I said I’ve had more guys on the edge saying, ‘coach, I don’t think I can do this.'”

The Vikings football program is awaiting word on what the fall season might look like. It could be shortened, or could be moved to next spring.

Coach Darr is hoping to turn that uncertainty into a teaching moment.

“You guys have an opportunity to take something that none of us want, to take this terrible situation we’re in, and learn about yourself,” he said.

One DVC player used the time in quarantine to build himself a home gym, and just received an offer from Division 1 Florida State.

Darr’s telling his athletes that now more than ever, sports are about coming together to face challenges head on.

“Llike all coaches talk about, we’re gonna control what we can, and have ourselves ready to go that if they say go, we’re going 100 miles an hour,” Darr said.

DVC’s governing athletic body is set to vote on a plan for the season on July 17.

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