Bowdoin, UMass Boston cancel fall sports due to COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 6/23/2020 3:54:26 PM

Bowdoin College and UMass Boston are canceling their fall Division III sports schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bowdoin President Clayton Rose cited limitations on campus attendance in an announcement detailing the school’s plans for the fall semester.

Bowdoin is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

“Athletics is an important part of the Bowdoin experience for so many of our students,” Rose said in a statement. “Unfortunately, given that we will not have all students on campus in the fall, we will not be participating in fall and winter varsity sports during the fall semester.”

There are 11 schools, including Amherst College, in the conference. Amherst has not yet made a decision on fall sports.

“NESCAC institutions continue to focus on plans for the 2020-21 academic year with the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and their communities the primary concern,” conference officials said in a statement Friday. “As institutions finalize their plans for the coming year, federal, state, and local health guidance, as well as institutional policies, will guide their independent decisions regarding reopening.”

The conference has not yet formalized plans for the fall season.

“This will not be a traditional fall on campus in any respect, including for athletics,” officials said in the statement. “The conference continues to develop plans for the return to athletics, including possible modifications to NESCAC rules to allow institutions flexibility to provide for meaningful experiences for students within school policies and federal, state, and local health directives. We expect to have more details in the weeks ahead and will share information as it becomes available.”

UMass Boston interim Chancellor Katherine Newman said in a memo that the school will focus on remote instruction in the fall with no on-ground student activities.

Rose said there may be an opportunity for the winter, spring and possibly fall athletes to participate and compete in some form after Jan. 1. But there will be no elimination of programs or furloughs or cuts to athletic administration, staff or coaches.

Newman said she is hopeful conditions will improve enough by October that the school will be able to open some on-campus programs.

“Student athletes are particularly sad about the loss of team sports, and we deeply regret the effect that our fall plan has on everyone involved in our athletics program,” Newman said in a statement. “If there were a way to make a different decision in a manner that we feel is responsible, we surely would. Sadly, the virus is spreading amongst athletes in states that have opened up. We don’t want that to happen to our Beacons.”

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