Waterville, Maine - After months of consideration regarding possible options for safely engaging in athletics this fall, NAC presidents and athletic administrators have come to a difficult decision. It has become clear that in the best interest of student athletes, staff, and campus communities, a traditional NAC experience will not be possible this fall.
As such, there will be no conference contests or championships in any fall sport this coming semester, Fall 2020. NAC fall sports include men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, women's tennis, men's golf, and women's volleyball.
The conference office and institutional leaders continue to support each other in providing a meaningful and fulfilling student athlete experience.
"This is a difficult day for NAC students, coaches and staff," said Commissioner Marcella Zalot. "I want to thank the athletics administrators and leadership at each institution for their efforts to try and play a NAC fall season. What we wished we could do and ultimately what we are able to do are just in two different places right now. I look forward to the day when the resilience and perseverance of this generation of students prevails and they are rewarded with the thrill and camaraderie of NAC competition."
Importantly, each member school may choose to safely conduct athletics at their own discretion. As a reminder, Husson University Athletics already announced on July 17th that they will not be engaging in any athletic competition during the Fall 2020 semester, but there will be an opportunity for Husson student-athletes to practice in the fall on campus. Activities are not limited by the conference, and may include practices, strength and conditioning, inter-squad events, and intercollegiate contests where safe to do so. Collectively, the conference will continue to explore the practicality of conducting fall sport activities in the spring semester if that becomes an option.
"We're doing everything we can to ensure the safety of all those who take part in athletics within the NAC while allowing for competition among institutions when it is safe to do so," noted Raymond Rice, President of UMaine-Presque Isle and chair of the NAC Presidents' Council. "While it won't be a traditional experience for us this fall, we know how important it is to have a plan in place that provides member schools with options to conduct athletics in a way that supports the well-being of student athletes and athletic staff."
Division III recently announced that eligible student athletes whose teams compete in 50% or less of the sport's maximum contests or dates of competition during the upcoming year will not be charged with a season of participation. Similarly, eligible student athletes who don't compete, or compete in a limited fashion, will not be charged with semesters of enrollment. Put simply, student athletes may practice and compete this coming year without compromising a year of eligibility.
No decision regarding winter or spring sports has been made at this time.
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