HADLEY, Massachusetts — The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) on Thursday announced they would not have a winter sports season this year amid ongoing concerns of the coronavirus.
NESCAC says its presidents unanimously made the decision to cancel conference competition, including conference championships for the upcoming winter season. The conference, made up of 11 small colleges in New England, includes three in Maine: Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College.
"We understand this decision will disappoint many of our students, given the important role athletics plays in the student experience," the presidents said in the announcement. "We remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage in athletic activities."
Conference schools have implemented measures to help further mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and protect the well-being of those on campus and in the surrounding communities. In addition to off-campus travel restrictions and strick social distancing protocols in place since the start of the fall semester, many of the conference schools' students aren't returning to campus for the spring semester until late January or early February.
NESCAC presidents say the move to cancel winter sports came in light of these policies and changes.
The schools affected are:
- Amherst College
- Bates College
- Bowdoin College
- Colby College
- Connecticut College
- Hamilton College
- Middlebury College
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- Wesleyan University
- Williams College
NESCAC had also canceled the fall sports season.
The NESCAC presidents say students may continue to participate in practice activities, strength and conditioning, skill development, and leadership programming in accordance with NCAA, Conference, and institutional policies, as well as state and local health guidelines. Institutions may schedule outside competition at their discretion.
Planning continues for the possibility of spring competition and updated information will be provided as it becomes available.