Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College cancel fall sports in reopening plans

Sports Editor
Published: 7/1/2020 10:52:03 AM

Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College announced this week that they will not participate in fall sports when the schools reopen next month.

Amherst College President Biddy Martin posted the school’s plan online Wednesday afternoon.

It calls for 60% of the student enrollment to be housed on campus. Classes begin Aug. 24. The health and safety of the community was a priority.

“Although we have reached the difficult decision not to allow varsity teams to travel and compete this fall, we are developing a plan that allows those students who return to campus who are members of our fall, winter and spring varsity programs to participate in both practice and strength and conditioning activities in a safe manner,” Martin wrote. “There is no decision yet regarding winter or spring sports. We are communicating closely with our New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) peers, public health officials, and the NCAA, and will make more information known as soon as we can.”

Amherst College offers football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, and field hockey in the fall.

Mount Holyoke President Sonya Stephens released the college’s reopening plan on the school’s website Tuesday. While the college is committed to offering a “co-curricular experience for all students,” sports will not be included.

“This was not an easy decision,” Stephens wrote. “We know that student-athletes greatly value their experiences as Lyons, and take great pride in representing the College in their sport(s). With health and safety concerns paramount, we could not see a way to participate in any NEWMAC conference play, or other competitions and championships requiring both close contact with other teams and travel to other campuses. We continue to hope that competitive sports might resume in the spring semester, and to discuss with NEWMAC all opportunities to delay fall sports and competition until next semester.”

Mount Holyoke offers cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, riding and rowing as fall sports.

“Although we are heartbroken by the loss of fall contests, the health and safety of our community continue to be at the forefront of the College’s decision making,” Mount Holyoke Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks said in a statement. “We are exploring the possibility of conducting fall practice sessions and will continue in our planning to return to our competitive conference schedule in the spring semester should conditions improve.”

The reopening plan centers around three core commitments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

■Safeguarding the health and safety of our campus and surrounding communities.

■Assuring and enhancing the College’s core academic mission and supporting inclusive excellence.

■Ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the College through organizational efficacy.

Classes, which will be taken either in person or online, are scheduled to begin on Aug. 24. The college announced that about half of the registered students will be able to live on campus.




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