The presidents of the USA South Athletic Conference has decided to postpone all fall sports competition until the spring 2021 semester on concerns of health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and staffs.
The decision on postponing, not canceling, the fall sports was in the lines with several factors, including the complicated developments of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the USA South and the availability, costs, and feasibility of adequate testing for student-athletes.
The sports affected by the postponement include football, men and women soccer, volleyball, and men and women cross country sports.
Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks said that this announcement was disappointing to fall student-athletes, their families, fans, and campus community. However, the difficult decision aimed to protect the health and safety of the participants and spectators, Dr. Franks said.
Despite the postponement for the conference-sponsored competitions, fall sports will still be allowed to train and practice at Averett for outside competition during the fall semester, said Averett Director of Athletics Meg Stevens.
The “Resocialization of College Sport” guidelines released by the NCAA Sports Science Institute on July 16 are a large factor in the decision by the conference, said USA South Commissioner Dr. Tom Hart.
The USA South Athletic Conference will immediately work to develop a plan on allowing the fall conference sports competition to return in the spring, Dr. Hart said.
The global pandemic has prevented the conference from carrying out the fall sports conference competitions, said Dr. James Mellichamp, Piedmont College president cum chair of the USA South Presidents Council.
The conference will ensure the safe conditions for student-athletes, coaches, and staff to complete the campuses. Each intuition will need to make its efforts to maximize the chances to develop the best practices before the competitions return in the next spring.