SU has joined all other Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference schools in this decision, the release said.
“After much deliberation and consideration, Southwestern will be joining the colleges in the SCAC in not holding athletic competitions in the fall,” SU President Laura Trombley said in the release. “The challenge of keeping our student-athletes safe during competition amid the rapid increases in COVID-19 infections is too great. Our students’ health and safety is our primary goal, and the travel and interaction that comes with participation in collegiate sports make meeting that goal very difficult.”
The cancellation of the season does not mean any of the sport programs will be eliminated, nor will there be furloughs or cuts to any of the athletic administration, staff or coaches, the release said. SU does not offer athletic scholarships.
The expectation is that SU student-athletes will conduct conditioning, strength training, and other practice opportunities during the fall semester as health and safety conditions allow, the release said. This includes training for spring sports, such as golf and tennis, that utilize the fall for non-traditional activities, it said.
There has yet to be a decision regarding football at this time, as that program falls under the American Southwest Conference, the release said.
This is the first time in SCAC history that the fall season will be canceled, the release said.
SU Athletic Director Glenn Schwab indicated the conferences are reviewing the possibility of conducting the fall seasons in the spring of 2021, the release said.
“Southwestern is working with the schools in our conferences to determine whether spring competitions are a possibility. It is something we would all like to see happen, especially for our student-athletes,” Schwab said in the release.
According to NCAA Division III rules, athletes will retain a year of eligibility if the athletic conference schedule is canceled. Decisions on partial seasons or the student-athlete clock will have to be determined by the NCAA.
“We held out making this decision in the hope of returning to a regular academic year, which for many of us means all of the great fall sports,” Trombley said in the release. “I hope our student-athletes use the same rigor and discipline they apply in their field of competition to help them overcome this temporary setback.”