Kevin Stevens, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Published 6:09 p.m. ET July 17, 2020
SportsPulse: As Christine Brennan points out, the Ivy League’s decisions have often been a tell tale sign for all college sports and it’s time to prepare for a fall without college football.
The America East Conference Board of Presidents on Friday postponed athletic competition and championships through conclusion of the first semester.
The conference will develop plans for a competitive structure in the second semester. Athletic activities and student-athlete services for fall sports, including training, practice, strength and conditioning, athletic training and academic support, will be permitted at each institution’s discretion in adherence with NCAA rules and local and state health and safety guidelines.
The decision and framework for fall sport operations were unanimously approved by the conference’s Board of Presidents.
“It’s a little different than what occurred in the spring because what occurred in the spring was, there was no runway so to speak, there was no way to postpone the season,” said Patrick Elliott, Binghamton University’s director of athletics. “Now, what we’re hoping certainly to do is to postpone this and then play a competitive season in the spring.”
The conference will continue to monitor conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally and nationally, and make decisions regarding its winter sports as necessary.
“At Binghamton, we’re not making any unilateral decisions, we’re all working together as a conference and then conferences are working together regionally,” Elliott said. “It’s not too much of a surprise to me to see the Atlantic 10 (suspend) today, the CAA today, because I think everybody is in the same boat.
“I think the thought is, let’s get the students back on campus, let’s get a better idea of what the science is. We all feat that it’s either going to be unchanged or it’s going to be worse, but let’s make those decisions based upon the facts in the present. We don’t really have to make that decision on July 17.”
America East members are Albany, Binghamton, Hartford, Maine, UMBC, UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire, NJIT, Stony Brook, Vermont.
The America East’s decision followed that of the Ivy League, Patriot League and other athletic associations in the northeast.
A statement from America East Board of Presidents Chair, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany, read in part:
“This proactive decision by our members to postpone fall sport athletics competition for the duration of the first semester is in the best interest of all America East student-athletes, athletics departments and university communities. Right now, it is imperative that each of our institutions can safely reopen to their broader campus communities and this decision supports those efforts.”
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A statement from America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen read in part:
“This was not an easy conclusion for our membership to reach but it was made with care and diligence and with health and safety as the highest priority. For the last several months, we have been working extensively with our membership to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing health and safety protocols, revising schedules and creating contingency plans.
“We have remained optimistic that we could safely conduct a fall sports season, however, there are several external factors outside of our institutions’ control that will limit and disrupt our ability to deliver our student-athletes an experience they deserve. While several outstanding issues and questions remain, we are hopeful that creative thinking and solutions will emerge in concert with improved measures to reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 as the academic year unfolds.”
Also Friday, the Virginia-based Colonial Athletic Association — of which Albany, Maine, New Hampshire and Stony Brook are football-playing members — likewise suspended fall competition. The conference will explore the possibility of conducting a football season during the spring of 2021.
Follow Kevin Stevens on Twitter @PSBKevin.