SJR State won’t play before April


St. Johns River State College won’t play baseball or softball again before the end of the month, if then.

After voting at a Thursday morning conference call to proceed with spring sports seasons despite coronavirus concerns, Florida College Activities Association presidents reversed course that afternoon and elected to suspend play through March 28, according to Ross Jones, head baseball coach and athletic director at SJR State.

“We’ll reevaluate March 28 and go from there,” he said. “As of 11 o’clock this morning, we all voted to play on. We eliminated travel outside the state of Florida, which wasn’t a factor because we’re all in conference (play) now.”

But as the day went on, the NCAA canceled all sports for the foreseeable future amid fears of spreading the virus among participants, spectators and other personnel. The NBA suspended its season last night and the NHL, PGA Tour and other professional sports were quick to follow suit.

An argument for continuing the FCAA spring seasons was that the sports were outdoor activities involving athletes considered to be at minimal risk. But Jones saw the rationale behind suspending play.

“It just mushroomed,” he said. “Obviously, our student-athletes are our No. 1 concern. But it’s not just the athletes when the grandparents come to the games. Then there’s traveling and everything else. They’re in a lot of confined spaces.”

The St. Johns baseball team was to have begun a three-game series at Daytona State College today. The Saturday game at Tindall Field would have been a homecoming of sorts for two-time Putnam County Player of the Year Tre Keen, a 2019 Palatka High School graduate and catcher for Daytona.

Jones said he would give the players a few days off before resuming practice. SJR State is on spring break next week.

The earliest the baseball team would play again would be April 1 at Pasco-Hernando State College. The softball team is scheduled to host Daytona State April 2.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the OK,” Jones said.