OVC Postpones Fall Sport Competitions and Championships
The decision also includes the fall competitive schedules for men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis as well as the non-traditional competition seasons for baseball and softball.
"We are extremely disappointed that our student-athletes won't have the opportunity to compete for Ohio Valley Conference championships this fall," Greg Seitz, JSU athletic director, said. "But we are excited that they will have the opportunity to compete in the spring. JSU's student-athletes have been working hard on off-season preparation and our staff had been working diligently to make sure that any competition that occurs is conducted as safely as possible under the circumstances. In addition, each of our athletes has been provided with an opportunity, if they choose, to opt out of competition for this academic year while maintaining their scholarship and financial aid. For those athletes that have chosen to do so, we will continue to provide them with academic support and they will remain eligible for future competition."
OVC football-playing institutions that are able to demonstrate a team's willingness and readiness to compete based on the NCAA's Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition and the NCAA's mental health guidance are approved to play up to four nonconference scheduled games.
"As to football, the overwhelming majority of our athletes want to compete this fall," Seitz said. "While the OVC moved the conference schedule to the spring, the conference presidents voted today to permit conference schools to play up to four non-conference games. We are working diligently to provide our football team the opportunity to play an exciting and meaningful schedule this fall while maintaining the rigorous health protocols which were already established. Please continue to follow our website and social media outlets, where any updates to the 2020 football schedule will be posted as soon as they are available."
In making its determination, the board asked the conference membership to develop plans for conference competition and championships in the spring semester for the impacted sports.
"After careful deliberation, weighing all the factors as presented, and given the current uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVC Board of Presidents voted to postpone the conference's fall sports to the spring," said Beth DeBauche, OVC commissioner. "With the focus on student-athletes, the conference leaders made this value-based decision with a commitment to continue to monitor the evolving situation and to strive to establish meaningful competitive opportunities in the spring for our fall sport student-athletes."
DeBauche contined, "While we understand there are many student-athletes, families, and communities that are disappointed by the lack of conference competition this fall, and we deeply share that disappointment, it is the OVC's ardent intention to ensure seasons postponed are not seasons canceled if the facts support it. I want to thank our student-athletes and coaches for their resilience during these trying times, our staff and administrators for all their hard work and planning over the past five months, and the presidents and chancellors for their strong and principled leadership over this outstanding conference."
Athletically-related activities for enrolled student-athletes will be evaluated consistent with NCAA legislation and guidance, as well as state, local and institutional parameters, and communicated to OVC institutions and its student-athletes accordingly.
The plans to play scheduled winter and spring sports remain unaffected at this time.