PSAC suspends competition through Dec. 31
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. — In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over the safety of student-athletes and campus communities, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Board of Directors has voted to suspend all athletic competitions and championship events through Dec. 31, 2020.
The decision impacts the entirety of the fall sports seasons and the beginning of the winter sports seasons that were scheduled to start prior to January.
As part of the announcement made Wednesday morning, the PSAC stated that is planning to move the fall sports competitions and championships to the spring semester, provided there is a safe opportunity to do so in regards to developments related to the pandemic. More information regarding moving the fall sports to the spring will be announced by the PSAC at a later date.
"The entire conference has worked hard these last few months to prepare for the return of sports to our campuses beginning this fall," said PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray. "However, it has become apparent that the safe conduct of sports under the guidelines of social distancing is untenable for our members. We cannot place our student-athletes at greater risk than the general student body. Despite our planning and collective efforts, it has become clear that we are not able to do so."
While there will be no athletic competition at SRU this fall, The Rock's student-athletes will continue to receive coaching and support from the athletics department. All scholarships will be honored as scheduled and SRU will work with the PSAC to chart a plan for student-athletes to receive safe, socially distant coaching and strength and conditioning services.
"While I am heartbroken for our student-athletes who were looking forward to competing, our first responsibility is to protect their health and safety," said SRU President William Behre. "The conference evaluated all options in an attempt to return to competition this fall, but ultimately determined that suspending competition is the safest and best option to protect our student-athletes and our campus communities. We will continue to support our student-athletes in every manner possible this fall and we look forward to a time when we can safely see them return to competition."
Slippery Rock athletic director Paul Lueken echoed the sentiment of president Behre.
"We support the decision made by the PSAC Board of Directors, as it was made with the health and safety of our student-athletes in mind," said Lueken. "We understand how much our students and fans wanted to see sports return this fall, but the most important thing is that we protect the health and safety of our student-athletes and our campus community. We appreciate that the league is charting a path towards allowing our fall student-athletes to play their seasons in the spring and we are hopeful that option will work out and all of our student-athletes will get the chance to compete in 2021."
More information regarding updated plans for sports during the spring semester will be shared by the PSAC and SRU at a later date.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Will there be any SRU athletics competitions in the fall?
A: No. There will be no intercollegiate athletics competitions during the fall semester.
Q: Are other schools impacted by this decision?
A: Yes. All 18 PSAC schools will not compete in athletics competitions through Dec. 31. There are also many other NCAA Conferences at all levels that have made the same announcements, including many that impact schools in Pennsylvania and in the same region as Slippery Rock.
Q: Will this impact the eligibility of our student-athletes?
A: No. Slippery Rock will work with the NCAA to ensure all fall student-athletes retain their eligibility, as long as normal academic eligibility standards are met.
Q: Will the fall sports be played in the spring?
A: The PSAC is planning to conduct its championships for the fall sports during the spring semester. If a safe path to do so in terms of the pandemic is available in the spring, SRU will join the PSAC in playing the fall sports during the spring. Final decisions regarding the spring will be made based on updated information provided by local, regional and national health and safety organizations.
Q: When will the fall sports start in the spring?
A: The PSAC is working on the details of how the spring semester would work with the fall, winter and spring sports all being conducted and will announce those plans at a later date, if competition is able to resume in the spring.
Q: Are student-athlete scholarships still being honored?
A: Yes. Slippery Rock will be honoring all previously agreed athletics scholarships.
Q: Are student-athletes going to be allowed to practice in the fall?
A: Slippery Rock will work within the local, regional and national guidelines related to the pandemic to provide student-athletes with individual coaching, strength and conditioning and athletic training services provided it is safe to do so. Each coaching staff will communicate all available information with their respective teams.
Q: Are student-athletes still receiving support services in the fall?
A: Yes. All student-athletes will continue to have access to the same academic and athletic support services they do during normal operations. Meetings with academic advisors, career services, coaches and other support staff may be moved to virtual modalities, but will still be provided. Each coaching staff will communicate this information to their respective teams.
Q: Will SRU coaches be allowed to recruit during the fall?
A: Slippery Rock will work with the NCAA to conduct all recruiting within the updated guidelines provided by the NCAA. Prospective student-athletes should reach out to SRU coaching staffs via email to coordinate recruiting. The SRU athletic communication office will be launching virtual recruiting visit webpages for each team to share information with prospective student-athletes. Those pages will be available by Sept. 1.
Q: Will SRU teams be able to host camps and clinics?
A: At this point in time, no youth or prospective student-athlete camps or clinics will be allowed to take place on campus. SRU will continue to monitor local, regional and national health and safety guidelines. When camps or clinics are allowed to resume, that information will be shared on the SRU athletics website and social media channels.
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