ANNVILLE >> The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Presidents announced on Friday, July 24 the suspension of intercollegiate athletics competition for the fall semester for all 18 member schools.
"After many long, thoughtful conversations and extensive review of the latest public health data and guidance from the NCAA, Alvernia and the rest of the Middle Atlantic Conference, have reached the difficult decision to suspend athletic competition in the fall of 2020," said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. "Participation in athletics is a vital component of the Alvernia student experience, but the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches and the wider Alvernia community remains our number one priority. Our dedicated coaching staff, athletic administration and medical personnel are diligently outlining opportunities that will allow our student-athletes to safely engage in athletic activities on campus."
The MAC Presidents are well aware of the important role athletics plays in the lives of student-athletes and are committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives that will provide future competitive experiences for fall sport student-athletes in the spring semester as circumstances allow.
"I'm extremely disappointed for our student-athletes, but I certainly understand and support this decision," said Alvernia University Director of Athletics Bill Stiles. "We have no greater responsibility than to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the entire Alvernia Community, including student-athletes, coaches, and staff. We are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our student-athletes and coaches to engage with each other on the field and courts, while also providing educational programming and leadership development, with particular attention to supporting the academic and mental health needs of our student-athletes during these challenging times. Additionally, we will continue to work with our colleagues in the MAC to develop creative plans as we aspire for competition in the spring semester. The Athletics Culture at Alvernia is strong. We understand the value of intercollegiate athletics as part of a holistic education and the many contributions of our student-athletes to the university. Particularly after having our spring seasons cut short, it is heartbreaking to imagine a fall semester without exciting Golden Wolves action. That said, we will come out on the other side of this stronger and more determined for excellence as ONE ALVERNIA!"
The MAC presidents, athletics directors and the MAC COVID-19 Advisory Group will continue to evaluate the athletics landscape throughout the 2020-21 academic year to address:
Engaging fall, winter and spring sport student-athletes in the fall term with coaches following all institutional, local and national health and safety guidelines
Shifting fall sport competitive seasons to the spring, insofar as possible
Scheduling winter sports competition beginning in 2021
Implementing league-wide and campus safety measures for practices and competitions when they do occur
Developing league-wide and institutional personal and professional development programming
"This decision was very difficult, as we know how deep the love of the game is for our student-athletes and that intercollegiate events are an important part of campus life for our entire community," said Dr. Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Chair of MAC President's Council and Hood College President. "However, we are confident that our coaches and athletic staff will work with the students to build an engaging athletic experience for our student-athletes while mitigating the risk of COVID-19."
General questions will be addressed through an FAQ document available here.
Questions about the MAC's response not addressed in the FAQs can be directed to email@example.com.
ABOUT THE MIDDLE ATLANTIC CONFERENCE
Located in Annville, Pa., the Middle Atlantic Conference is an NCAA Division III conference comprised of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth (MAC Commonwealth) and Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom (MAC Freedom).
Its 18 member institutions, located across three states, are: Albright College (Reading, Pa.), Alvernia University (Reading, Pa.), Arcadia University (Glenside, Pa.), Delaware Valley University (Doylestown, Pa.), DeSales University (Center Valley, Pa.), Eastern University (St. Davids, Pa.), Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus (Madison, N.J.), Hood College (Frederick, Md.), King's College (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), Lebanon Valley College (Annville, Pa.), Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pa.), Messiah University (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Misericordia University (Dallas, Pa.), Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.), Stevenson University (Owings Mills, Md.), Widener University (Chester, Pa.) and Wilkes University (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), and York College of Pennsylvania (York, Pa.).
The MAC currently sponsors 27 intercollegiate sports that compete in the NCAA Division III. More than 7,000 student-athletes participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's ice hockey, men's and women's indoor track & field, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's outdoor track & field, softball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's volleyball and wrestling.