Published on July 17th, 2020 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
MEAC Suspends Fall Sports Season Due to COVID-19
SC State shifts calendars, athlete arrivals to campus
ORANGEBURG, S.C. -The Council of Presidents and Chancellors of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announces that the league will suspend all sports competition, championship and non-championship segments, for the 2020 fall season, as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. A decision is yet to be made on whether fall sports schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester.
The conference currently plans to proceed with winter sports competitions as scheduled unless health and medical professionals advise otherwise. We will apprise the public on further decisions.
The Council of Presidents and Chancellors took this action out of a concern for the safety as well as the physical and mental health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, support staff, faculty, and fans. The rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases along the eastern seaboard heavily influenced the council’s decision as the data suggests that the African American and other minority communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The MEAC is committed to ensuring that the correct measures are in place to reduce exposure to the virus.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our number one priority. We have made the decision to suspend all sports competitions after careful review of the current conditions and consideration of the potential exposure that regular travel to competitions may cause and ongoing extensive physical contact,” said Howard University President and Chair of MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “While our competitions have been suspended, each member institution will plan ongoing engagement of all student-athletes to ensure optimization of their physical and mental well-being as they continue their matriculation.”
“As President of a MEAC affiliated institution, I support the Council’s decision,” said SC State University president James E. Clark. “I, along with higher ed leaders across this country are having to make very tough decisions about how to navigate this pandemic and still provide a top-notch college experience for our students. This decision aligns with our commitment to keep our campus community safe.”
“Obviously, this is an arduous decision because everyone wants to have a fall season for student-athletes, fans and others,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure the mental and physical health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is paramount. It is imperative that everyone recognize that is our first and foremost responsibility.”
“Because our student-athletes and coaches make extraordinary contributions to our entire campus and Orangeburg community, this is an extremely heartbreaking decision. However, I support the decision because I know that it is the right call based on the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus,” said Stacy Danley, director of Athletics.
Danley noted, “Our medical staff worked diligently to create an extensive health and safety return to campus plan for voluntary workouts. However, while we were prepared as an institution to execute that plan, I want to assure everyone associated with our University that this decision was made with the health and safety of our students, coaches, faculty, staff, and the community in mind.”
MEAC institutions will continue the resocialization process for student-athletes which encompasses mental and physical health counseling, strength and conditioning protocol and compliance with all COVID-19 safety requirements.
Further updates will be made as so warranted.