The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Council of Presidents voted unanimously to suspend all fall 2020 collegiate sports competitions, championship games and non-championship games. The MEAC cited continued escalation of COVID-19 cases in many areas where student-athletes from member schools reside.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our No. 1 priority,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick in announcing the decision.
MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas agreed: “Everyone wants to have a fall season for student-athletes, fans and others, but the mental and physical health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is paramount.”
Delaware State University Director of Athletics Dr. David S. Gines emphasized that the suspension of competition 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 ahead,” Gines said.
Those practices and activities remain possible even during the COVID-19 pandemic, said DSU President Tony Allen, because 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 fall sports suspension directly affects 245 student-athletes at Delaware State University in women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s golf, equestrian, men’s and women’s cross country, football and volleyball, Gines reported. 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 sport 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.