By Dylan Manfre
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced the cancellation of sports for the fall season because of the coronavirus pandemic, per a release on July 27.
This comes after the conference indicated it would play a conference-only schedule on July 17 following suit of multiple other collegiate conferences.
The MAAC Council of Presidents will make a decision at a later date on whether fall sports can be played in the spring, per release.
“It is difficult to put into words how I feel for all of the student-athletes, coaches, and administrators who put in so much work on a daily basis,” MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said in the statement. “Health and safety protocols have been of the utmost priority the last several months, but unfortunately, there are too many factors that prohibit the MAAC and its institutions from safely delivering a competitive atmosphere that these individuals deserve.”
The directive from the league affects women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, women’s and men’s cross-country and “sports that conduct non-traditional season segments in the fall.”
Basketball, which starts late in the fall semester, is not affected by this decision.
According to the announcement, student-athletes will still be permitted to train with their teams upon returning to campus, however, the respective institution will be responsible for creating guidelines on safe training practices.
Ensor added that the MAAC, along with the Committee on Athletic Administration, has the goal of “providing the student-athletes with a schedule of contests among conference members in the spring of 2021 in accordance with each institution’s procedures and applicable state regulations.”
The MAAC joined five other collegiate conferences to cancel the fall season.
Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher expressed his belief to The Griffin Newspaper on July 23 that there was a “greater than 50% chance” the MAAC would cancel play for the upcoming semester.
In March, the NCAA announced the cancellation of its March Madness basketball tournament after 31 of the 32 Division I conferences canceled their postseason tournament 137 days ago.
As of this moment, the NCAA has not made any official word on the fate of the fall championship season but a ruling from the highest governing body in college sports could be imminent and determined by the next Board of Governors meeting, according to a tweet from Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic.
While the NCAA has not canceled fall sports yet, the association released this stark graph in its third Resocialization of Collegiate Sport series that outlines testing protocols for athletes and guidelines for competition.
Rider field hockey’s season has also canceled even though they are a part of the Northeast Conference (NEC).
According to Rider Athletic’s Sports Information Direcotor Gregg Ott, all of Rider’s fall sports teams will following the direction of the MAAC Council of Presidents regardless of what the NEC decides.
Rider University President Gregory Dell’Omo, who is a member of the MAAC Council of Presidents, issued a campus-wide email on the decision.
“For all of us who take pride in Rider Athletics, today’s decision touches us deeply. I feel the pain of disappointment along with every individual who contributes to our programs, particularly our student-athletes,” Dell’Omo wrote. “While we must continue to prioritize their health among any other concerns, I want to recognize that the grit, discipline and passion they display on a daily basis will always be worthy of our admiration and our respect. We all look forward to the day when we can see those traits displayed through competition once again.”