BREAKING: Patriot League cancels fall sports season
Decisions on winter and spring sports will be made at a later date
American University, in unison with the Patriot League, announced the cancelation of its fall sports season on Monday, due to the ongoing challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Decisions on winter and spring sports will be made at a later date, according to the Patriot League’s press release, with training and practice opportunities for athletes being permitted with the necessary health and safety precautions, according to each state’s guidelines. Athletes are also not allowed to travel for any sports in the fall.
“The collegiate athletics experience at all Patriot League institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and the League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches and fans,” the league’s press release said. “However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority.”
This decision to cancel the season comes less than a month after the Patriot League announced its plans to resume fall sports in September with new health and safety protocols. The Patriot League is now the second conference within the NCAA to cancel its fall season, following the Ivy League’s cancelation of its season last week.
"From a health and well-being standpoint, things are not getting better in this country," said Patriot League Commissioner Jennifer Heppel in an interview with ESPN. "As we get closer to the point where students are going to be making plans to how they travel back to our campuses, as well as student-athletes, it became clear for us that this wasn't going to be in the best interest of our communities to have athletics this fall."
For AU, this means its cross country, volleyball, field hockey and soccer seasons will not be played this fall. When the spring sports season was canceled in March, the NCAA gave the option of an extra year of eligibility to spring sports athletes who had their seasons cut short midway through. It has not been announced how eligibility will work for the Patriot League’s fall athletes, though the Ivy League announced its fall athletes will not use a season of eligibility, whether they enroll or not.
The Patriot League also stated its desire to explore creative alternatives “to providing future competitive experiences to our fall sport student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships in the second semester.”