NPF Cancels 2020 Season
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) officials announced the cancellation of the 2020 season on Friday due to the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.
The league, which would have entered its 17th season in 2020, was set to debut a new scheduling format this year, which was designed to feature a series-event model that included multiple teams competing at once in the same location.
"Competing within the next couple of months will require extensive and thorough preparation in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for players," NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf told Softball America. "We simply do not feel satisfied or comfortable, as a league, in our ability to put that type of program forth and enforce it."
A press release stated that the league's reasons for canceling the 2020 season related to "an inability to access testing as well as an uncertainty on the cost of that testing; access and allowance inside potential venues; lack of adequate infrastructure required to travel from market to market, live, practice and compete each day of the season in various markets while maintaining the assurance of player safety and good health."
NPF officials originally announced a delay to the 2020 season in mid-March, just weeks before the campaign was scheduled to begin. It was then announced on May 1 that league officials would take additional time to evaluate the possibility of a 2020 season before a decision was ultimately made and announced on Friday regarding the campaign's cancellation.
The professional softball league features five squads, including three teams—the Cleveland Comets, Canadian Wild and Aussie Peppers—that are largely made up of players who will represent Mexico, Canada and Australia, respectively, at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been delayed until next summer. The other two NPF teams include the league's oldest active franchise, the Chicago Bandits, as well as the California Commotion. The California squad was set to make its NPF debut this spring.
Kempf added: "Our teams are committed to not only returning in 2021, but to growing professional softball in the NPF during a year full of natural excitement for the sport that always comes with Olympic competition."