By Joe Arruda
On Monday afternoon, the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference released an announcement suspending conference play and a conference tournament for winter sports due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. This means, theoretically, that Springfield College teams could engage in out of conference play.
The statement noted that it was a unanimous decision among the Presidents – including Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper – reflecting the focus of their concerns on the well-being of the student-athletes.
The statement reads:
Due to the shift in academic calendars, specifically the later start than normal of the second term and the majority of institutions imposing restrictions of both visitors on campus and travel off campus in an effort to reduce the potential spread and exposure of COVID-19, the Presidents have unanimously decided to suspend conference play and championships for winter sports.
The conference does acknowledge that team practices and workouts are permitted in accordance with NCAA Div. III guidelines as well as state and local health and safety guidelines.
President Cooper, along with Craig Poisson, Springfield College’s Director of Athletics, released a statement shortly after that read:
We remain committed to pursuing avenues for Springfield College student-athletes to engage in intercollegiate competition in all of our winter sports, including NEWMAC and non-NEWMAC affiliated programs.
Over the last two months, collective efforts at Springfield College allowed our student-athletes the opportunity to train and develop. Knowing that this campus community thrives on the energy and structure that intercollegiate athletics provides, it’s important that we stress how proud we are of all those involved that we were able to adjust to the restrictions and parameters that came with our current situation.
As COVID-19 continues to create much uncertainty in our day-to-day lives, it is paramount that we continue to navigate these times ensuring the safety and well-being of our campus community. While we miss seeing our student-athletes compete wearing THE jersey in the short term, we remain hopeful that we can find a pathway that leads to competition in the coming months.
Athletics remain suspended at Springfield College due to the shelter-in-place that the campus entered on Oct. 30.
NEWMAC Presidents are continually working on planning for the possibility of a spring sports season.