Fall sports canceled at Suffolk University due to COVID-19

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(Photo courtesy of Suffolk Athletics)

As the Suffolk University community prepares for an uncertain fall semester, one large question mark has recently been eliminated – that being fall sports. 

In the latest trend of cancellations, the Coastal Commonwealth Conference (CCC) board of directors announced there will be no official conference season for the fall 2020 semester.

This decision was made mere weeks after Suffolk joined the CCC as its newest member. The decision from the CCC board came on Friday, several days after the Ivy league announced the cancellation of fall sports. Many national conferences are expected to follow suit based on the Ivy league’s decision.

The CCC justified its decision by explaining how safety is its first priority. According to a statement from CCC, it is the conference’s goal “to provide the safest possible environment for our student-athletes in all sports so that intercollegiate athletic competition may safely resume at the appropriate time.” 

Suffolk University Athletic Director Cary McConnell shared his thoughts on the decision in a statement Monday. 

“The last thing an athletic department wants to do is to cease competition,” said McConnell. “But our ability to keep you, your teammates, and your coaches healthy, is our main focus.”

However, just because conference play is suspended does not mean there is not a chance for sports to go on at Suffolk in some capacity. 

The CCC only canceled sporting events that involved CCC teams competing against one another. The CCC is giving schools some freedom to come up with alternatives to conference play. 

 “The decision to suspend CCC play in the Fall 2020 semester does not preclude individual CCC institutions from making institutional decisions to schedule some athletic competition,” according to CCC’s statement. 

While it is unlikely that Suffolk or other CCC schools will schedule any athletic events given current public health guidelines, the possibility still remains for competition in non-conference settings. 

In his statement, McConnell announced plans for fall athletes to remain active. McConnell said Suffolk’s athletics department has plans to “organize smaller groups (pods) of athletes to practice and participate in strength and conditioning opportunities.” 

McConnell also noted that athletes who participate in this program will be provided with COVID-19 testing twice a week. Student athletes who choose not to participate in these activities will not be penalized in any way when full play is resumed, McConnell said. 

While the situation for the fall is grim, plans for winter and spring sports have not changed. The CCC said in its statement that it hopes winter sports will start up in 2021 in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and public health guidelines. Officials also said spring sports are still scheduled to occur. 

The CCC also said there could be a chance of making up for a lost fall season.

“Should NCAA legislation permit fall sports teams to conduct athletic activities and competition in the Spring 2021 semester, CCC schedules and championships may be adjusted accordingly,” officials said.