SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: Trinity football’s 2020 season is officially over.
The Southern Athletic Association announced Thursday evening that they are suspending all conference athletic competitions for the 2020 fall season. That includes the Tigers, who compete against SAA opponents on the gridiron.
The conference’s Presidents’ council determined that the risks of continuing the season during an ongoing pandemic outweighed the reward. Opportunities for student-athletes to continue training safely are not yet finalized.
“The highest priority at each institution is the health and wellbeing of our campus communities, student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and spectators,” said SAA Commissioner, Jay Gardiner. “As the pandemic evolves, the SAA will continue to monitor the situation and intends to resume fall sports competition in early 2021.”
Additionally, the SAA did say that they are planning on joining “other Division III conference in requesting that the NCAA postpone fall championships until the spring semester of 2021.”
ORIGINAL STORY: College sports bore the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects in the spring, and four months later, they are still being impacted.
The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference announced Thursday afternoon that they have canceled all NCAA athletic competition during the Fall 2020 season due to “health and safety concerns.” The announcement extends to all conference and non-conference action, and specifically listed the cross country, soccer and volleyball seasons.
This impacts sports programs at Trinity University and Texas Lutheran University a little over a month and a half before the scheduled start of competition. The release did not discuss the status of the upcoming football season, as the SCAC does not sponsor football. Both the Tigers and Bulldogs compete in different NCAA Division III conferences. Trinity is affiliated with the Southern Athletic Association, while TLU is part of the American Southwest Conference.
The SCAC was also one of the first collegiate conferences to cancel spring sports last March. The conference is also comprised of Schreiner University, Austin College, Centenary College, Colorado College, University of Dallas, Johnson & Wales University, Southwestern University, and the University of St. Thomas of Houston.
Below is the official press release distributed on July 16:
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Presidents Council announced on Thursday that NCAA intercollegiate competition will not occur during the Fall 2020 season due to health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In discussions that included a review of public health guidance and safety standards as well as NCAA Resocialization recommendations, the group unanimously agreed that conference teams in the sports of cross country, soccer and volleyball will not engage in competition (conference or non-conference) during the fall season. This includes sports such as golf and tennis that utilize the fall for non-traditional activities. Teams will be encouraged, as health and safety conditions allow, to conduct conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities during the fall semester.
”Collegiate athletics are key pillars of the student experience at SCAC institutions,” said Trinity University President Danny Anderson, chair of the SCAC Presidents Council. “With this decision, SCAC institutions will gradually resocialize our sport programs to campus with the goal of safe competition and a return to regular conference play.”
The conference is committed to exploring meaningful competitive experiences for all fall sport student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships during the spring semester.
”Not unlike the decision we had to make this past spring, today’s decision was difficult and not taken lightly,” said SCAC Commissioner Dwayne Hanberry. “At the very least, it is extremely frustrating to be forced to continue the suspension of competition this fall.”
“After putting together a COVID-19 Task Force made up of administrators from each member institution, we thought we had landed on a reasonable plan for resocialization that would have allowed for measured increases of athletic activities upon the arrival of our student-athletes coming out of summer break,” continued Hanberry. “However, with recent spikes in cases, especially within our footprint, the decision to suspend competition for fall sports during the Fall semester and allow our campuses to focus on the health and safety of all students within a structured environment became the logical outcome.”
Decisions related to winter and spring sport competition will be made at a later date.