HARTSVILLE, S.C. (courtesy cokercobras.com) — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Presidents Council voted to postpone the fall sports season to Spring 2021. In late July the Presidents Council had originally voted to delay the start of the fall competition season to September 26. Coker University sports sponsored by the SAC that will be affected by the decision are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball.
“When we made the decision to delay the start of the fall seasons, we were hopeful the nationwide trends would improve and allow our student-athletes to compete,” said Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College and chair of the SAC Presidents Council. “However, the pandemic has not improved as we had hoped, and we feel the best decision is to postpone any competition to the spring 2021 semester. This was an extremely difficult decision to make and we did not make it without careful consideration of all parties involved.”
In addition, as a result of the NCAA Board of Governors’ directives issued on August 5, the SAC Presidents Council voted to temporarily suspend all athletically-related activities, including practices, weight training, and voluntary workouts for all sports until September 1. The SAC leadership will continue to seek clarification from the NCAA on these directives; however, this temporary pause in athletically-related activities is necessary due to the ambiguity of the Board of Governors’ directives regarding testing requirements for practice activities and the coverage of medical expenses for COVID-19 related issues for student-athletes. Activities may be resumed earlier than September 1 if clarification is received from the NCAA on institution’s ability to engage student-athletes in team-related activities as long as federal, state, and local guidelines are followed.
“The decision today by the league’s presidents took into account the safety and well-being of our student-athletes which is our priority,” said Coker University Vice President of athletics and athletic facilities Dr. Lynn Griffin. “As an institution, we are committed to providing our student-athletes an exceptional experience while transitioning them back to campus.”
The SAC leadership does not feel the intent of the NCAA Board of Governors’ decision was to restrict team-related activities beyond contests with outside competition. If all team activities are in fact restricted, the SAC leadership feels that is antithetical to the mission of the NCAA and the SAC and institutions must be allowed to have that engagement in order to provide a positive structure for academic, athletic, and social success that the student-athletes are accustomed to and desire.
Coker University will continue to assess the NCAA, federal, state, and local developments and provide updated revisions as additional information is available.