Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in the best interest of the health, safety, and well-being of the student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, and our campus communities, the South Atlantic Conference Presidents Council has made the decision to delay the start of all scheduled competition for the 2020 fall sports season until September 26. This includes men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball. Further, teams will compete in conference-only competition and teams may begin preseason practice, per NCAA bylaws, for these sports during the fall 2020 semester, provided health and safety conditions allow these activities.
“The decision to delay the fall sports season was not an easy one to make,” said Dr. Maurice Scherrens of Newberry, Chair of the SAC Presidents Council. “However, we feel this is the best course of action as it allows our institutions time to develop best practices for a safe return to campus and competition for our student-athletes. We will continue to assess the ever-changing situation, as we are dedicated to ensuring our student-athletes the opportunity to return to campus in the safest environment possible.”
Fall competition schedules for the spring championship sports of baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis may also not begin prior to Sept. 26. In regard to the 2020-2021 winter sports of men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s indoor track and field and wrestling, those seasons remain unchanged at this time.
“This was a very difficult decision, but one we feel has the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans in mind,” SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz stated. “We all understand the desire everyone has to get back out there and play games, but the health and safety of our student-athletes take precedence over playing at this time. It is our responsibility to ensure their safety above all else. While this does not guarantee our fall sports will be able to compete during their traditional season, a delayed start gives us the best chance to continue to monitor the situation.”
The SAC leadership will continue to assess the NCAA, federal, state, and local developments and provide updated revisions as further information is available.
Statement from Lenoir-Rhyne:
The South Atlantic Conference announced today that the start of fall sports has been delayed until September 26th in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This affects football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball. Teams will compete in conference-only competition with the start of preseason practice beginning in accordance with NCAA bylaws for these sports during the fall 2020 semester, provided health and safety conditions allow these activities.
“I appreciate the leadership of our conference presidents who have always prioritized the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff and broader campuses as the number one priority,” said Vice President for Athletics Kim Pate. “Delaying the start of fall sports will provide the necessary time for our league institutions to implement best practices for a safe return to both campus and competition in this ever-changing landscape.”
Fall competition schedules for the spring championship sports of baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis will not begin prior to Sept. 26. In regard to the 2020-2021 winter sports of men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s indoor track and field, those seasons remain unchanged at this time. This same policy will be applied to all other LR sports not currently sponsored by the South Atlantic Conference in accordance to their current sport seasons including Triathlon, Swimming, and Weightlifting.
“Our student-athletes are no strangers to hard work and perseverance while continuing to demonstrate their resilience,” said Pate. “We are committed to providing them an exceptional experience both on and the field while ensuring a safe transition back to sport,” said Pate.