By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs announced on Friday morning that they have made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the men’s and women’s basketball seasons this year.
Both College of the Redwoods teams had hoped to tip off a 12-game conference season in early March, but with too many logistical concerns still to overcome the decision has been made to cancel.
“What it basically came down to is we ran out of time,” CR Athletics Director Bob Brown said.
CR is the third of six Golden Valley Conference teams to opt out of the season, following Lassen and Butte, which both announced their decision a few weeks back.
In order to play this spring, the CR players would have had to return to practice by Monday in order to allow for three weeks of practice before playing any games.
In addition to mandatory testing before every game and other COVID restrictions, one of the chief concerns for both teams was whether they would even have a facility to practice and play in with the CR gymnasium currently being used for local COVID vaccinations.
Brown has secured the use of the Eureka High gym for both teams to practice in for now, but said that could change if and when the high school teams are cleared to play.
“We weren’t able to guarantee to have it for all our needs,” Brown said, adding that they had considered using facilities at the Bear River Casino and Humboldt State.
Despite having no real season, both teams are scheduled to resume practice the week of Feb. 15 and are looking forward to getting back together again and possibly having some five-on-five intra-squad scrimmages in the near future.
The Corsairs are also looking into scheduling a couple of scrimmages against other teams later in the spring, including a potential showdown against Humboldt State.
“As disappointed as we are in the outcome, as competitors and people who want to see our kids involved in the game they love so much, we are also really excited to get back in the gym and see each other,” men’s head coach Ryan Bisio said. “Games are games, but we want to just get back to play the game we love.”
Neither Corsairs team has played a five-on-five scrimmage or game of any sort since the playoffs last March.
Women’s head coach Jain Tuey said the news was obviously disappointing.
“It’s been difficult from the beginning,” Tuey said. “It’s unfortunate we’re not going to get to play, but we’ve got to think about the safety of our players and staff and everyone.”
Both coaches paid tribute to the CR staff for doing everything possible within their power to enable a season.
“I want to give so much credit to Bob Brown our AD and Nate (Kees) our trainer,” Bisio said. “They were out in front of everything, even in the fall when we had the opportunity to get together when a lot of teams didn’t.”
CR was one of the few community colleges in the state to be allowed some restricted conditioning/practice sessions in the fall.
“We did quite a bit of work in the fall and we were seeing progress in our players,” Tuey said. “And we’re grateful for that.”
Whether or not fans would be allowed attend the possible scrimmages later in the spring would depend on COVID restrictions at the time.
Tuey admitted it’s still too early to say if her players will take advantage of the extra year of eligibility and how many might return next year.
Bisio, however, says he expects most if not all of his players to return and is excited about the upcoming spring and summer sessions with his team.
“Even an open gym sounds like a luxury right now,” Bisio said, adding that he is “hoping for a great summer.”
Basketball is the third CR sport to be canceled for the school year, joining women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.
Cross country and the traditional spring sports — baseball, softball and track and field — are all expected to go ahead, with the cross country teams beginning practice on Monday and the other teams, including soccer and basketball, returning to practice the following week.
The spring sports are scheduled to begin in April.