TROY — There will be no local fall college sports this year as the Liberty League joined the North Atlantic Conference and SUNYAC earlier this week in announcing the cancellation of its fall schedule.
The ruling also affects at least the start of winter sports as it extends the no-competition date to Dec. 31. Clarkson and St. Lawrence University are both members of the Liberty League for most of their NCAA Division III sports. SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam lost their fall conference seasons on Monday.
A league release Wednesday afternoon said, “Over the past several months, member institutions have been developing plans for a safe reopening of campuses this fall, including a possible resumption of intercollegiate athletics with the safety and well-being of students and campus communities as the top priority. While the Liberty League previously outlined a plan focused primarily on league competition, the league members have continued to monitor and evaluate guidance provided by the NCAA as well as other national, state and local health and safety guidelines. The members understood that the league may need to change course as the pandemic evolved.”
According to commissioner Tracy King the cancellation of conference events does not keep individual schools from taking part in athletic activities that are in accordance with Division III regulations as well as institutional, state and local health and safety guidelines.
“With institutions and conferences, both regionally and nationally, making the difficult decision to cancel fall competition, our announcement to cancel Liberty League competition and championships will likely not come as a surprise,” said King in the statement. “Nevertheless, I understand the deep disappointment that many of our student-athletes, who have trained and prepared for competition, will feel with this decision. Moving forward, our members will continue to work together to provide meaningful athletic opportunities to support our student-athletes.”
The league will also consider the possibility of having fall sports compete in the spring if the NCAA allows that to be an option.
St. Lawrence University athletic director Bob Durocher sent an email to the athletic community and said they will try to have as many practices and intra-squad activities as they can as well as considering the possibility of scrimmages later this fall with limited regional opponents, if health conditions allow.
“I recognize that this is disappointing news for you as a student-athlete,” Durocher wrote. “Please be assured that our top priority at the University remains the health and safety of our entire campus community. We are hopeful that public health conditions will allow our participation in winter sports. Details are currently being discussed with the Liberty League, the College Squash Association, the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.”
Men’s and women’s hockey, which is the only Division I sport at Clarkson and SLU, usually starts playing games by early October. The schools compete in ECAC Hockey instead of the Liberty League.
“St. Lawrence intends to play Division I hockey this year,” Durocher said. “ECAC Hockey continues to discuss the best path forward. We anticipate being able to share more information in the near future.”
Clarkson’s public relations office also released a short reaction to the cancellation, but it did not address anything about hockey.