The conference is committed to providing meaningful engagement opportunities for student-athletes and alternatives for fall sports in the spring
Williamsport, Pa.- After careful consideration of internal and external circumstances and with the health and well-being of each campus and community in mind, the presidents of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), including Lycoming College, made the difficult decision to suspend all intercollegiate athletics competition through the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference office announced Friday morning, July 24.
The conference presidents noted that they are well aware of the important role athletics plays in the lives of student-athletes and are committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives that will provide future competitive experiences for fall sport student-athletes in the spring semester as circumstances allow.
The MAC presidents, athletics directors and the MAC COVID-19 Advisory Group will continue to evaluate the athletics landscape throughout the 2020-21 academic year to address:
- Engaging fall, winter and spring sport student-athletes in the fall term with coaches following all institutional, local and national health and safety guidelines
- Shifting fall sport competitive seasons to the spring, insofar as possible
- Scheduling winter sports competition beginning in 2021
- Implementing league-wide and campus safety measures for practices and competitions when they do occur
- Developing league-wide and institutional personal and professional development programming
“This decision was a very difficult one for me personally as well as the other 17 presidents,” Lycoming College President Kent Trachte said in an e-mail directed to the College’s student-athletes. “The MAC presidents have committed, if circumstances permit, to support creation of competitive opportunities in the spring for fall athletes. While I cannot promise that this commitment will become a reality, I can promise you reasonable paths for making this commitment a reality will be pursued.
“I view athletics as an integral part of the residential learning environment at the College. I know first-hand the lessons of leadership, teamwork, sacrifice, discipline and tenacity that are learned through competitive sports. For those reasons, I am committed to doing all we can to create the conditions that will allow for the resumption of intercollegiate competition in an environment that is safe and healthy.
“Finally, I want to assure you that this decision by the MAC should not be viewed as indicating that Lycoming College intends to abandon its commitment to proceed with residential education in the fall. We are confident that we have crafted a plan where you will benefit from in-person classes while also reducing the risk of virus transmission.”
As a result of this announcement, Lycoming's fall sports competition season has been suspended, including men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. The fall portions of the golf and men’s and women’s tennis teams’ intercollegiate schedules are also suspended. Lycoming's winter sports affected are: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming and wrestling.
While no competition will be held the remainder of the calendar year, other team activities and practice sessions will be permitted for fall and winter teams if the College believes they can be administered safely. Those details will continue to be worked on as the school year approaches.
“The impact that COVID-19 has had on the world is so heartbreaking,” Lycoming Director of Athletics and Head Football Coach Mike Clark said. “Never in my lifetime did I expect to not be able to coach a season of football because of a virus. There are only so many times that anyone gets the opportunity to do something that they love in life, so having one of those taken from you due to a situation that you can’t control will always be a really tough pill to swallow - not just for me, but all of our dedicated coaches and staff and most importantly, our student-athletes.
“I hope we can all continue our work together at Lycoming to support one another as we work for a brighter tomorrow. The simple fact is that the current risks to our students, faculty, staff and community outweigh our opportunity to compete. In the coming days, weeks and months, all of us involved in Warrior athletics have to take the steps necessary to control coronavirus. There is a great personal responsibility there. We all want to compete again, but it will take us working together as a community to limit the virus’ spread in the coming months.
“Athletics has long been a key component of Lycoming College’s ability to transform student lives and better our community. We still hope to conduct permissible activities with the teams including workouts, modified practices and educational programming, allowing our coaches to continue to help our student-athletes grow."