By Shaun Chornobroff and Dylan Manfre
Following the lead of major collegiate athletic conferences, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) has decided that men’s and women’s soccer along with volleyball will play a conference-only schedule, per a July 17 release.
The MAAC’s announcement did not provide any guidance on a start to the cross-country season and that information is still unclear at this time.
On June 29, the league announced a Sept. 11 start date to competition for the season which is later than the usual start date around late-August.
The MAAC also released dates for the first competition, per release.
- Volleyball: Sept. 19
- Women’s Soccer: Sept 26
- Men’s Soccer: Oct. 3
The release also included dates for championship series.
Summer activities for basketball programs are also canceled and “will commence when the full student body returns to campus.”
The news does not apply to the Rider field hockey team, which competes in the Northeast Conference (NEC). It announced on July 9 that it has set Sept. 10 “for both conference and non-conference competition.”
The athletic conferences have been receiving guidance from the NCAA on its expectations for athletic programs. On July 16 it released the third publication of its Resocialization of College Sport guidelines designed to help schools respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as they prepare for a return to athletics.
The third publication expanded on the first two, releasing updated recommendations on how to protect athletes and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the release.
Emmert also noted that data is trending in the wrong direction, saying, “if there is to be college sports in the fall we need to get a much better handle on this pandemic.”
In the most recent guidelines, the NCAA recommended that testing strategies should be implemented for all athletic activities, including preseason, regular season and postseason.
The document, which was a collaboration between a number of groups, recommends daily self-health checks as well as testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high-risk sports.
The document says that all individuals with high-risk exposure must self-quarantine for 14 days.
The NCAA said physical distancing and face coverings are “an integral part of athletics and should be practiced whenever possible” in the document. The document also says masking should be observed on all sidelines including when players are substituted or go to the sideline to confer with a coach.
The playoffs for men’s and women’s soccer, softball and baseball were reduced from six-team to four-team formats following the June 6 meeting, with championships being held at one site.
The MAAC Council of Presidents will reconvene on July 24 to make any modifications to the conference slate for the three sports.