PSAC Suspends NCAA Competition for Fall 2020
The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference voted on Tuesday, July 14, to suspend all mandated conference athletic events and championships through the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The entire conference has worked hard these last few months to prepare for the return of sports to our campuses beginning this fall,” explained PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray. “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 Conference has already undertaken a full review of its ability to shift Fall sports competition and championships to the Spring semester and fully intends to do so if a return to competition can be safely executed.
“I’m very saddened for the lost opportunity for our Warriors to compete this fall,” said East Stroudsburg University President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D. “This was a difficult decision for the conference and the 18 university presidents to make, understanding the impact on the student-athletes, coaches and staff across the conference and especially here at ESU. This decision was made with the health and safety of our students as the first priority.”
“As this pandemic continues to affect nearly every aspect of our lives, we will persist as a university and a conference to seek the best path forward for our student-athletes. I am hopeful that we will continue to show the benefits of the character that this competition builds, and will be able to provide a safe and healthy environment in the future.”
The Conference and its member institutions will develop guidelines for all teams to continue individual skill instruction as well as strength and conditioning activities under social distancing protocols by the end of the summer. The determination as to when winter and spring sports may begin workouts and practices will be considered at a later date.
“The circumstances we find ourselves in are unprecedented and thus we are taking unprecedented measures,” added Murray. “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.”
“Although we are all disappointed we will not have our regular, traditional fall sports season this semester, we realize this is the prudent thing to do to safeguard everyone’s health and well-being at this time with the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted ESU Director of Athletics Dr. Gary Gray. “We understand that we need to do what is best in the short term to ensure a healthy long term benefit. We look forward to coming up with a creative way to have all 22 of our sports compete during the spring semester.”
All fall and winter sports scheduled to begin before January 1 are impacted by this decision. The Conference will evaluate the necessary schedule changes and will communicate its plans for moving all competitions to the spring semester at a later date.
ABOUT THE PSAC
Headquartered in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference comprised of 18 institutions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The member institutions are Bloomsburg University, California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University, Gannon University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, Mercyhurst University, Millersville University, The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Seton Hill University, Shepherd University, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University, and West Chester University.