The Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Presidents Council announced Friday that they have voted unanimously to postpone all NCAA intercollegiate athletic competitions through Dec. 31, 2020, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
The fall sports that have intercollegiate competition postponed include cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
The winter-season sports of basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling also will have intercollegiate competition postponed during the 2020 calendar year.
The OAC is committed to moving NCAA intercollegiate competition to the spring, with various models currently being discussed.
“The OAC believes we can continue to provide an excellent experience for our student-athletes, while continuing to make the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staffs, families, fans, and campus communities our highest priority,” OAC Commissioner Tim Gleason said.
Heidelberg University coaches communicated the news to their respective teams shortly after the OAC’s decision.
While competition will not occur in Fall 2020, the OAC is working with Heidelberg and all of its member institutions to plan a robust engagement of student-athletes during the fall semester with conditioning and preparation for spring competition according to CDC guidelines and NCAA criteria in conjunction with local health guidelines.
“Athletics, and indeed all co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, is essential to the overall experience for many students, which is why this decision is deeply disappointing to so many of us. But it is the right decision. I want to assure you that a group of coaches, athletic trainers, staff and many others on our campus have been working extremely hard to study current data, evaluate new NCAA safety and testing guidelines and, in consultation with OAC team physicians and local public health experts, weigh all of our options for safely having our seasons,” Heidelberg University President Rob Huntington said. “Tremendous time and resources were invested in our attempt to create safe conditions for a competitive fall season. However, the current surging state of COVID-19 illness and spread across Ohio and the country poses risks that are simply too high for teams and student-athletes to compete and for travel among colleges.”
The OAC consists of Heidelberg University, Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, John Carroll University, Marietta College, University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, Otterbein University, and Wilmington College.