Delaware State University will suspend fall sports but will prepare for play and the possibility of shortened seasons in case they are allowed.
The suspension directly affects 245 student-athletes in women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s golf, equestrian, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football and volleyball, Gines reported.
The Historically Black College and University made the announcement Thursday afternoon after the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference presidents voted unanimously to suspend all fall 2020 collegiate sports competitions, championship games, and non-championship games.
The conference cited the rising number of COVID-19 cases in many areas where student-athletes reside.
Delaware State University Director of Athletics, Dr. David S. Gines said in a press release that the suspension does not mean that student-athletes will not be fully engaged when they return to campus.
“As we prepare for the Fall semester, suspended competition affords all of our 18 programs and 450 student-athletes with intensive opportunities to train, practice, and develop their crafts on-campus. We are also preparing for amended seasons and schedules still yet ahead,” Gines said.
Those practices and activities remain possible even during the COVID-19 pandemic, said President Tony Allen.
The University “has developed a partnership through Testing For America that centers on the testing, social distancing, contact tracing, and quarantine protocols to allow students to return to campus safely. Like our entire University community, our student-athletes will be tested regularly and monitored closely to ensure the safety of all our activities.”
The MEAC is currently in communications with the NCAA regarding Fall student-athletes’ eligibility concerns. When spring sports were canceled last year, the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility for all Spring Sports athletes, and the MEAC is advocating the same for these students.
The conference currently plans to proceed with winter sports competitions as scheduled, unless health and medical professionals advise otherwise.
Other schools in the MEAC are Bethune-Cookman University, Coppin State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University.