WATERVILLE, Maine — The North Atlantic Conference Presidents’ Council offered support for tentative plans to conduct winter sports during the spring semester, but opted to wait until January to make a final decision based on the state of the pandemic at that time.
The Council also affirmed support for allowing institutional autonomy to conduct athletic activities regardless of the final decision on a conference schedule or championship.
The NAC, of which SUNY Canton is a member, sponsors four winter sports — men’s and women’s basketball, and new this year, men’s and women’s swimming & diving.
Tentative plans to begin conference basketball games Jan. 29, 2021, remain on hold for now. The conference has several options for adjusting the planned schedule as needed in response to the pandemic. The first NAC swimming & diving event is slated for March 13-14, 2021.
“We are committed to providing student athletes with an opportunity to play their sport if it is safe for them and our campuses and wider communities to do so,” said Presidents’ Council Chair Ray Rice, also the president at UMaine-Presque Isle. “The coronavirus will ultimately determine the fate of winter sports in the NAC.”
Presidents will continue to monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and will reconvene in mid-January to determine a course of action. The health and safety of student athletes, coaches, staff, and local communities remains a priority.
Presidents also endorsed plans for playing traditionally fall sports on a smaller scale throughout the spring semester.
Fall sports in the NAC include men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, and women’s tennis. Men’s golf and women’s tennis are spring NCAA Championship sports, which remain scheduled at this point. The others are fall NCAA Championship sports, and those national tournaments were canceled.