PSAC cancels athletic competition through fall semester
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced Wednesday morning it is suspending all athletic competition through the fall semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision came after a meeting of the conference’s Presidents on Tuesday night.
The PSAC is the largest NCAA Division II conference, sporting 18 members, including both Lock Haven and Mansfield.
“The entire conference has worked hard these last few months to prepare for the return of sports to our campuses beginning this fall,” PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray said in a release. “However, it has become apparent that the safe conduct of sports under the guidelines of social distancing is untenable for our members. We cannot place our student-athletes at greater risk than the general student body. Despite our planning and collective efforts, it has become clear that we are not able to do so.”
The PSAC is the third NCAA conference to cancel fall athletics in recent weeks following a surge of positive COVID-19 cases throughout the country. The Ivy League and the Patriot League announced last week it would not be playing any fall athletics.
The PSAC said in its release it has already begun looking at the possibility of moving all fall athletics to the spring should a safe return to competition be possible.
“We are committed to giving our student-athletes the chance to compete during this academic year,” said Geraldine Jones, President of California University of Pennsylvania and the newly elected chair of the PSAC Board of Directors. “Many institutions and conferences are facing the same circumstances as we are, and if it is safe to return to competition, we will work with them and the NCAA to provide our teams with a championship experience during the spring semester. We know this is a huge disappointment for our student-athletes who work so very hard in their sport. This decision was not taken lightly and we feel saddened by having to do so.”
The Conference plans on releaseing guidelines to schools by the end of the summer so they may conduct individual skill instruction as well as strength and conditioning drills under social distancing protocols. The PSAC also said it would determine when winter and spring sports teams may begin their workouts and practices at a later day.
“The circumstances we find ourselves in are unprecedented and thus we are taking unprecedented measures,” Murray said. “The contraction of COVID-19 and its viral spread are not the types of risks those involved with sports activities face under normal circumstances. Therefore, we cannot expose our student-athletes, coaches and university personnel to those risks. It is a painful step we are taking, but we feel it is the right one.”
Look for more in Thursday’s edition of the Express.