The continued and severe spike in coronavirus cases that has impacted every aspect of the country has abruptly forced Bethune Cookman to halt plans to compete in athletics in the spring.

The school announced Monday that all future spring competitions, including basketball and football, will not take place.

In a letter, Monday released by school president Dr. E. LeBrent Chrite, “the recent spike in COVID-19 positivity rates in the state, across Volusia County and on our campus provides clear and unambiguous evidence, in our view, that now is simply not the time to resume athletic competition.”

The news comes hours after the Florida Department of Health reported 3,377 coronavirus infections on Monday and 20 deaths.

Since the pandemic was officially declared in March, the state has tallied more than 16,000 COVID-19-related deaths and 780,000 confirmed infections.

The Bethune Cookman campus itself has been affected by a cluster of outbreaks. A recent spike in infections led to a lockdown after 15 cases were identified and more than 30 students were forced to quarantine as a result.

“That trend line is neither acceptable nor sustainable,” Chrite said in a Facebook post.

“While the decision to opt-out of spring competition is the only responsible one of us at this time, it was not made lightly,” Chrite said in a statement. “We know this decision greatly impacts our student-athletes, our coaching staff, our Marching Wildcats, and others.”

Bethune Cookman in June announced that it would move to the SWAC in 2021.


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