QUINCY, Mass.- The New England Collegiate Conference released its Statement on Winter Sports Monday morning, indicating that the league has suspended traditional conference seasons and conference championships in the sports of men's and women's basketball during the winter of 2020-21 due to the on-going concerns surrounding COVID-19.
"In response to the NECC's decision to suspend winter sport competition, the ENC athletic department staff is still committed to providing a transformational experience for our student-athletes. Though the fall and winter sports will look different than expected, we will be considering all opportunities to offer meaningful practice and competition during the spring semester, including local and regional contests against other colleges and universities to the fullest extent in accordance of federal and state public health recommendations, the NCAA guidelines, and institutional guidelines," commented Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Zarges. "We remain committed to spring sports returning to conference and non-conference competition as their seasons resume in 2021."
During the fall semester, ENC's athletic teams have participated in strength and conditioning workouts as well as team practices as part of the Athletic Department's Resocialization to Sport plan. Student-athletes and coaches wore masks throughout the duration of practices and also maintained social distancing, sanitization of equipment, and other measures to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches, and staff.
Student-athletes who are taking classes on campus will still be able to practice and train with their teams this winter, assuming their compliance with all relevant safety guidelines and parameters, including campus social distancing protocols and required on-campus COVID-19 testing.
New England Collegiate Conference Statement on Winter Sports
Following numerous conversations by the conference's Presidents Council and its Athletic Leadership, The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) has decided to suspend conference play during the winter season due to the ongoing health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
The well-being of all constituents is at the heart of every decision the NECC makes and, with that in mind, the conference has deemed it would not be prudent to participate in conference competition during the winter season.
As was the case during the fall, this announcement does not preclude member institutions from competing locally or regionally at their discretion.
Assuming the spread of the virus is contained and safety can be assured, conference play will resume during the spring semester.
"As disappointing as this decision will be for our student-athletes, their health and safety is always our primary concern," said Nancy Crimmin, Ed.D., Chair of the NECC Presidents Council and Becker College President.
She continued, "I am especially proud of our athletes, coaches, and athletics staff who, despite the challenges they faced this semester, continue to display unwavering resiliency and dedication. With most of the schools shifting spring academic calendars for a later start, travel restrictions and scheduling challenges, and the overall uncertainty with the virus, the decision to suspend the winter season became more clear."
Practice and other athletic training opportunities for enrolled student-athletes will be permitted provided they are structured in accordance with each institution's procedures and in accordance with local and state regulations.
The NECC's member institutions are continuing to work together to provide extended and non-traditional opportunities for their students.