The Big South Conference announced on Wednesday its plans to move forward with all fall sports for 2020.
Below is the full release:
“With a priority for the health and safety of student-athletes and others due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big South Conference announced today that it will begin fall sports competition on Thursday, Sept. 3. The decision was made by the league’s Executive Committee in consultation with the Big South Council of Athletics Directors, Chief Executive Officers and medical professionals, and provides each member institution the opportunity to further focus on return to competition protocols and necessary resources to facilitate the resocialization process, while maintaining competitive opportunities for its student-athletes this fall.
“The new start date for competition includes all exhibition and non-conference games in the traditional fall sports of women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country, and coincides with the beginning of football season on Sept. 3. Baseball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, softball and men’s and women’s tennis, which hold their traditional seasons in the spring, will also begin scheduled fall competition activities on or after Sept. 3.
“Big South member institutions may continue with any permissible athletics activities, as defined by NCAA regulations, at their own discretion as outlined in their respective return to competition protocols, as well as local and state policies related to individual campus decisions. Rescheduling of contests will be determined by each institution.”
Hampton, a member of the Big South Conference, announced last week it would suspend all fall sports for 2020.
Current MEAC member North Carolina A&T will become a full member of the Big South Conference beginning in 2021.
Safe to say MEAC and SWAC dropped the ball. There’s no intel or data from this virus to support a spring football season so to throw out a half-way thought through plan just to be “first” was embarrassing. Secondly, we all know Dr. Thomas made his decision more so out of spite to his departing conference members versus the health and safety of the student athletes (if safety was a top priority then why haven’t they canceled in face classes at the universities in these 2 perspective conferences?) Money and procedures could have taken place to ensure testing for these conferences but both of commissioners I feel would not play with limited fans in the stands which of course would affect revenue, and I think that is the only thing that is on their mind, NOT WHAT IS BEST FOR THE HBCU student athlete or even program. If fall sports is not played at the HBCU level it won’t be because we were trying to protect our student athletes, it’ll be because we took the easiest route possible with low risk. That’s not leadership.