The Maricopa Community Colleges Allow Spring 2021 College Athletics, Develop Mandatory Return to Play Safety Protocols

TEMPE, Ariz., Nov. 25 2020 – The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) announced today that it will not cancel College athletics for Spring 2021. MCCCD athletic teams will be allowed to hold practices and competitions beginning January 4, 2021, as long as they incorporate the District’s mandatory Return to Play (RTP) safety guidelines.

The decision comes from the guidance of an ad hoc committee which was established in September 2020 to determine a recommendation for MCCCD Interim Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales as to the possibility of returning to play for all athletic teams by January 2021. In July 2020, the District postponed all student athletics – except for cross country – until January 2021 due to COVID-19.

“Our students, faculty, staff, and community's well-being and health remain our highest priority,” said Dr. Gonzales. “The ad hoc committee has evaluated the COVID-19 impact and analyzed COVID data from both local and national health authorities. The committee has also met with others in the District, the county, and nationally to review safety measures and precautions and develop guidelines for our return to play. Based on their extensive research and conversations with stakeholders, I support the committee’s recommendation.”

The ad hoc committee includes College presidents, vice presidents, athletics directors, and athletics trainers, who also consulted with MCCCD Risk Management and the Executive Director of Public Health for Maricopa County, Dr. Flanagan, in making a recommendation to Dr. Gonzales. 

The committee also created the RTP document, in consultation with MCCCD athletics trainers, athletics directors, Risk Management, Maricopa County Public Health Officials, and District Legal, to guide MCCCD’s actions and offer strategies for prevention, education, symptom screening, risk mitigation, travel, and practice and competition guidelines. In addition, the document is fluid and will evolve as new developments and findings emerge throughout the pandemic. The RTP guidelines are not optional and must be followed by all faculty, staff, and students involved in the MCCCD athletic program.

To learn more about MCCCD athletics, please visit:


Media Contacts:

Dasi Danzig, 480-268-6766,

About the Maricopa Community Colleges

The Maricopa County Community College District includes 10 regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving approximately 100,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.