By: 1812Blockhouse

Two collegiate conferences announced on Thursday that fall sports competition will feature only conference games — if those games are allowed to proceed.

The Big Ten and the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), while representing institutions of substantially different sizes, issued statements which reflected many of the same observations and conclusions.

In part, the Big Ten statement shared the following:

“…[I]f the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”

Athlete choice was given a strong priority. “Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team,” the statement added.

Ohio State’s schedule this fall called for three non-conference contests to begin the season, including home games with Bowling Green and Buffalo, and what was to be a good game on the road against the Oregon Ducks.

The NCAC, which includes schools in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania including Denison, Hiram, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wittenberg, and Wooster, issued a set of guidelines governing all fall competition which stated:

  • NCAC members will commit to consistent baseline health & safety protocols, as determined by public health professionals and institutional medical professionals;
  • NCAC members will commit to follow the NCAC adopted phased-in approach to athletic participation and gatherings, or the local, state or federal guidance, whichever is more restrictive.
  • NCAC members will play conference-only schedules, based on geographical groupings that eliminate overnight travel;
  • NCAC members will adopt Friday, Sept. 18 as the first permissible contest date;
  • NCAC members recognize and respect the institutional autonomy to make more restrictive decisions on competition for their respective campuses. Each campus is developing its own reopening plan; and,
  • NCAC members recognize that our plans are fluid and subject to change as conditions evolve in order to responsibly protect our communities. Decisions for the winter and spring championships seasons will be made in early fall.

Sources: Big Ten, NCAC

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