Today’s announcement follows previous decisions made by other conferences and schools, including Bowdoin College which was the first member of the NESCAC to cancel its fall sports season, while also delaying the start of its winter sports season until next January.
Amherst College and Williams College also announced recently that none of their respective fall sports programs would be competing this year, including the both football teams that have been competing in the ‘Biggest Little Game’ since 1884.
The NESCAC cited “the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and the broader community the foremost concern” with making the decision to cancel the fall sports season for its 11 members, along with its seven championships they sponsor.
Middlebury College, which captured last year’s NESCAC Field Hockey championship, defeated Franklin & Marshall in the national title game while Tufts University captured the NCAA D-III men’s championship with a 2-0 win over Amherst College.
Middlebury and Tufts have yet to cancel or suspend their respective fall sports programs as of this afternoon.
According to D3Playbook.com, the NESCAC is not the first D-III conference to either cancel or suspend fall sports. The Centennial Conference (CC) announced earlir this week that none of their schools would play fall sports, including football, while a few conferences hope to play only league games this fall.
No official announcement has been made as of late this afternoon, but according to various reports, it appears as if the Ivy League will not being playing fall sports this year.
In addition to no fall sports, Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel is reporting that none of the Ancient Eight winter sports teams can begin their respective season until after January 1, 2021. The decision on winter sports is what a few other local schools have announced, including Bowdoin College and MIT.
With news of no fall sports being played later this year, it is likely that Ivy League football fans won’t see their favorite teams on the gridiron until next September. In addition to football, it is most likely that other fall sports such as field hockey, soccer, and volleyball won’t play games until the 2021-22 school year.
The Ivy League was the first NCAA D-I conference to cancel its basketball tournaments in March due to the coronavirus. A few days later, the Ivy League canceled the remainder of its spring sports season.
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) will not be playing football this fall. In fact, TCNJ will not be competing in any ‘high in-person contact‘ activities throughout the fall semester, according to President Kathryn A. Foster, who shared the news through the school’s website.
Friday’s announcement follows a few other schools, including Bowdoin College and UMass Boston, that announced earlier this week that they would not be playing sports this fall either. Additionally, Morehouse College, a member of NCAA D-II, canceled its upcoming cross country and football season earlier today while Pratt Institute (N.Y.) announced yesterday that none of their fall athletic programs would be competing for an American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) crown.
Foster expressed sympathy toward the school’s student-athletes that won’t have a chance to compete for the Lions this fall, including those that partake in intramural and club sports. But Foster did say that coaches and trainers can “arrange workouts and other individual fitness activities” while the Student Affairs staff will organize “low-contact recreational and cultural offerings.”
“I know how unfortunate and deeply disappointing this is for the many performers and athletes, coaches, and supporters who were looking forward to a fall season,” Foster said in today’s announcement. “I look forward to it, too. Yet the science on COVID-19 finds that activities with high in-person contact or proximity have the greatest likelihood of broad and rapid virus spread, a circumstance that at TCNJ could mean (a) shutdown of the campus.”
COVID-19 hasn’t been kind to the Garden State, which currently has recorded 172,000 confirmed cases and 14,872 deaths. But like most states in the northeast, including New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, the numbers and data are trending in the right direction, which could mean sports could return to TCNJ this winter.
Said Foster, “If all goes well in fall, we may be able to allow some performance and winter sports preparation.”
As we continue to inch closer toward a brand new college sports season, specifically college football, there seems to be some concern from NCAA President Mark Emmert regarding what various seasons will look like this fall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In a recent podcast appearance on The Comeback:COVID-19 and the Return of Sports from The Athletic, Emmert told host Seth Davis that the current situation is “very, very fluid,” and that whatever happens with fall sports will certainly be different than prior years.
As for what the upcoming football season looks like, including here in New England, Emmert told Davis that it won’t be what “we’re custom to seeing it year in and year out.”
Earlier this week, we learned Bowdoin College would not be playing football this fall – maybe this spring? – while Morehouse College announced today that its cross country nor football teams would not be competing for Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships this fall.
The Patriot League announced its plans for the upcoming fall sports season on Monday, which included guidelines for its seven members that play football. Teams will not be allowed to fly to away games while the league stated that “with rare exceptions, the regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.”
Holy Cross, which captured the Patriot League crown last fall with a 24-0 victory over Georgetown University, shouldn’t have to fly too many games this fall as eight of its current contests, including three conference matchups, are scheduled to take place in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. However, the Crusaders’ season-opener against Merrimack College on Thursday, September 3 could be canceled due to the league not allowing its members to compete against non-conference foes until Friday, September 4.
As of today, we are 10 weeks away from the first official weekend of college football in New England as well as 69 days away from watching a slew of teams kick-off their respective campaigns on Thursday, September 3, including Bentley University, University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Will games begin on time or be pushed back to later in September? Could we see games moved to October, November, or even December? What about pushing back the season until next spring?
No matter what, Emmert knows the upcoming college sports season will look so much different than it has previously and may only feature conference or in-state contests along with a slew of regional games.
“Nobody can predict anything with certainty and so therefore you shouldn’t rule anything out,” said Emmert.
“I certainly think that sitting here today that there will be football in the fall. I think it will be different in many respects whether it’s the audiences in attendance or not in attendance, whether it’s the nature of the schedule, whether it’s the length of the season – you know, all of those things will be different and certainly the protocol and the way the games are played and the healthcare that surrounding that has got to be different.”
Fall sports won’t be taking place this year at Morehouse College, according to the school’s president, David A. Thomas, Ph.D., who penned a letter to his student-athletes earlier today, which wasposted on the athletic department’s website.
Thomas expressed sympathy for both the school’s cross country and football programs, which won’t be competing this fall for a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship, but did say the college “will honor all athletic scholarship awards.”
“I know this news will be most disappointing to our scholar-athletes, especially our seniors,” Thomas wrote in today’s letter. “I can only ask for your understanding and respect for the fact that the College is prioritizing your health and safety ahead of all else.”
A major reason why Thomas elected to cancel the upcoming fall sports season was due to concern that both teams wouldn’t be able to follow social distancing guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when competing against various opponents during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Thomas did state in his letter that he hopes to welcome students back to campus in August and that decisions on winter and spring sports will be made later this year.
Morehouse College, which competes against other NCAA D-II athletic programs, becomes the third school to cancel its upcoming fall sports season after Bowdoin College and UMass Boston made a similar announcement earlier this week.