NEW ORLEANS — The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference will announce by Sept. 1 if it will move its fall 2020 sports competition to the spring.
The GCAC — an NAIA conference with seven members over five states — emerged from its July 14-16 Zoom meetings with a plan and commitment to compete in the fall, then recently decided to reassess after the NAIA’s decision to move fall championships to the spring to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic halted all U.S. collegiate competition during the second half of March through the end of the spring semester.
“We understand the need to continue to monitor the landscape and assess the situation as we continue to receive updated information from our medical health leaders,” Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes — the GCAC’s interim commissioner and the director of athletics at GCAC member Dillard University — said Tuesday. “We are anxiously awaiting the GCAC Council of Presidents’ final decision regarding our fall conference championships.
“During our summer meetings, we heard a great presentation from our athletic trainers, led by Dillard’s Mark Armour, about comprehensive procedures to keep our teams as healthy and safe as possible during the coming academic year. We emerged from those meetings comfortable with our position to move forward with fall competition. But events and decisions since then have forced us to reevaluate.”
The GCAC’s fall championship sports are women’s volleyball, women’s cross country and men’s cross country. Some GCAC members also compete during the fall in football, soccer and tennis.
The other six GCAC members are Edward Waters College, Philander Smith College, Rust College, Talladega College, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.