Hubbards, NS, June 9 2020 - After deliberation among its 10-member institutions, the Atlantic Collegiate Athletics Association has cancelled its first-semester sports schedule in light of health and safety considerations for its student athletes, coaches and athletics staff.
“We understand this is a very disappointing situation for our student athletes and fans across the region,” said William Lahey, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of King's College who spoke on behalf of fellow presidents of the ACAA member institutions. “At the same time, I am confident that everyone understands the requirements for physical distancing and protection measures are not compatible with competitive sport at our level of play and the risk of transmission among athletes is too great. In a nutshell, the health and safety of student athletes, coaches and athletics staff comes first.”
The decision to cancel first-semester sports affects men's and women's soccer and cross country and women's rugby, as well as exhibition and early season competitions for men's and women's basketball, volleyball and badminton. A further decision on basketball, volleyball and badminton will be made at a later date as these sports could potentially see a January 2021 start to a condensed season. Under that scenario, exhibition and season play until January would be cancelled and schedules after January 1 reduced.
”The decision follows meetings between ACAA university and college presidents on the impact of COVID-19 on sports programming “ said Ron O'Flaherty, ACAA Chair and Executive Director.
Member institutions are also in the midst of announcing decisions related to their fall semester and preparing to deliver classes with a combination of delivery options, depending on the institution. All institutions have been clear that adherence to public health directives will be applied to all learning, living and campus activities.
“We are dealing with an issue that has impacted every aspect of society including colleges and universities and now it has impacted ACAA sports. Before this announcement, athletics directors and coaches have been reaching out to their student athletes to relay the news. It is hugely disappointing as athletics is an important part of campus life. But there are also serious education and campus issues being addressed by universities, all with safety and health as the main goal. I know ADs and coaches will do their part to support their players and help them succeed as students.”
- Michael Eagles, Athletics Director at St. Thomas University and President of the ACAA.
The ACAA is hopeful that student athletes in first semester sports may be able to participate in forms of athletic programming at their respective institutions consistent with requirements mandated by public health authorities. This could include options for individual or small group training and conditioning. As well, student athletes are leaders in their communities and many of their community activities could continue.
Over the past few weeks, the presidents of the ACAA member institutions reviewed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on athletics. Provinces in the region are presently in different stages of recovery with public health authorities guiding gradual, staged re-openings while remaining cautious to avoid a major resurgence of COVID-19. Physical distancing, screening and controlled facility access are among mandated measures and border control measures remain in place.
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