NESCAC cancels winter sports amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 10/8/2020 4:55:28 PM

Amherst College will not have winter sports this season.

The presidents of the New England Small College Athletic Conference issued a joint statement on Thursday and canceled winter sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand this decision will disappoint many of our students, given the important role athletics plays in the student experience. We remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage in athletic activities,” the statement read.

A decision on spring sports has not yet been made.

“My heart goes out to all winter student-athletes affected,” Amherst Director of Athletics Don Faulstick said in a statement. “I feel especially bad for our many seniors who not only had their championship season taken away by COVID-19 last year, but will end their college athletic careers with this news. I wish none of us was affected by the pandemic.”

A number of factors led to the decision and they all relate to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and communities. NESCAC schools have limited travel off campus and restricted visitors to campus. Schools have also implemented strict protocols and social distancing measures.

In addition to modified academic calendars, offering winter sports was not a viable option.

“Given these institutional policies and calendar changes, the NESCAC Presidents have unanimously decided to cancel NESCAC conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season. Among other things, the timing of students’ return to campus means there will not be enough time to conduct meaningful conference play,” the statement read.

Athletes will still be allowed to train.

“Students may continue to participate in practice activities, strength and conditioning, skill development and leadership programming in accordance with NCAA, Conference and institutional policies, as well as state and local health guidelines. Institutions may schedule outside competition at their discretion,” the presidents said.

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