BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Mountain East Conference still plans to have athletic events this fall semester but there will be a delay.
The conference, which is home to 10 NCAA Division II West Virginia institutions, announced on Tuesday its updated plans for athletic competition this fall, which were approved by the MEC Board of Directors.
The updated “Return to Play” plan, which maintains the elimination of non-conference competition for fall and winter team sports as the league announced earlier, includes:
– A delay in the start of competition in all fall sports until no earlier than October 1st.
– With the delay, contests in team sports originally scheduled for Sept. 4-30 will be played in the spring semester. Dates listed within previously announced schedules for Oct. and Nov. will be utilized.
– Conference tournaments for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball will be scheduled for the spring semester.
– Conference tournaments for men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s cross country are still scheduled for the fall, but delayed from their previously announced dates. Dates and locations for those championships will be announced at a later date.
– Men’s and women’s basketball are scheduled to begin competition in the fall semester under this adjusted plan.
– The conference may ultimately make determinations to delay certain sports based on the level of contact risk relative to existing public health conditions or other health and safety concerns.
For football, MEC Commissioner Reid Amos said that is the best route the MEC can see that provides maximum flexibility and increases the likelihood of being able to get 10 contests for athletes.
“We very much believe with the condition that we have in our areas that again we have reasons for hope. Rather than delaying any opportunity for competition until five and a half months from now, we believe there is a route where we can have competition,” Amos said to the media.
The strategy to stage competitions this fall is based on the public health conditions in the geographic footprint of the MEC and will continue to be developed in consultation with local health officials and medical professionals, according to Amos.
Division II conferences such as the PSAC and CIAA have already canceled fall sports and many other conferences have moved them to the spring semester.
The MEC said it is developing alternative strategies in order to maximize the opportunity for a meaningful student-athlete experience should public health conditions not permit the return to practice and/or competition in the timeline proposed within this revised plan.
The alternative plans include a further delay to the start of competition until later in October and, if ultimately necessary, a move of all fall competition to the spring semester.
The activation of any alternative plans will be based on the efficacy of resocialization of member campuses, local health conditions and in consultation with public health officials and medical professionals, and would be announced at the appropriate time, according to a release.
“A lot can happen over the next two to two and a half months before we are slated to start in October. We simply are not prepared to wave the flag of surrender,” Amos said.