PSUAC postpones fall sports for intercollegiate athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In response to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety and well-being of our campus and athletic communities being paramount, the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) Executive Council has unanimously voted to postpone all fall sports athletics competition and championships. The PSUAC has determined that, based on campus facilities and staff sizes, it is in the best interests of student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans to postpone all fall sports competition. A decision on winter and spring sports competition will be made at a later date.
"We have been closely monitoring the national landscape regarding intercollegiate athletics on smaller campuses as well as the developments related to the coronavirus and its impact on our students at all Penn State campuses for the fall semester," said Director of Commonwealth Campus Athletics, Maureen Cooper. "The health and safety of our student-athletes is first and foremost and developing safety protocols has been the utmost priority the last several months, but unfortunately, there are too many factors that prohibit the PSUAC and its campuses from safely delivering a competitive atmosphere that our student-athletes deserve."
The University established a Commonwealth Campus Athletic Safety Subcommittee that continues to monitor University, national organization, state and local guidelines relative to resocialization of sports on our campuses and will work with campus athletic directors and medical personnel to seek alternative opportunities to provide a meaningful student-athlete experience throughout the fall season.
The fall sports impacted by the Council's decision include men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, golf, and sports that conduct non-traditional season segments in the fall. In accordance with evolving state and local regulations, the Conference will review possible championship formats for the fall sports to be held in the spring, including participation in USCAA championship events that were previously postponed to spring 2021.
The PSUAC Executive Council has pledged full advocacy on behalf of our student-athletes to work with the USCAA in the pursuit of any waivers that preserve lost opportunities because of these COVID-19 disruptions.
FAQ for Commonwealth Campus Athletics: PSUAC
Question 1: Will the PSUAC conduct fall championship sports during the spring semester?
Answer: The Office of the Vice President (OVPCC), the Conference Office and campus administration is committed to providing the student-athletes with a schedule of contests among conference members in the spring of 2021 in an effort to identify a qualifier for the USCAA Championships for Fall sports that will be conducted in the Spring. It is the goal of the PSUAC to ensure it recognizes a PSUAC champion in each sport and it will review possible championship formats for the fall sports in accordance with evolving state and local regulations. The PSUAC will continue to rely on CDC guidelines, federal, state, local and campus regulations as it develops all future plans for student-athletes and any potential return to play. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans is our priority.
Question 2: Will the USCAA move fall sport championships to the spring semester?
Answer: On July 13, 2020, the USCAA Board of Directors suspended all Fall National Championships. The Board will continue to monitor the ongoing situation, with intentions of providing postseason opportunities for fall sports during the spring of 2021.
Question 3: When will fall championship sports be able to start participating in countable athletically related activities?
Answer: Because the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans is our priority, campuses are developing guidelines on a health and safety plan and return to operations that will allow for countable athletically related activities. Campuses are working toward allowing skill instruction, strength and conditioning and small group practices to allow for meaningful interaction among student-athletes and coaches if public health conditions permit. The decision to allow countable athletically related activities will be determined and defined on an institutional basis depending on institutional, local, and state public health guidelines. All applicable USCAA playing and practice season rules shall be followed.
Question 4: When will winter championship sports be able to start participating in countable athletically related activities?
Answer: The University established a Commonwealth Campus Athletic Safety Subcommittee that continues to monitor University, national organization, state, and local guidelines relative to resocialization of sports on our campuses. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans being our top priority. All applicable USCAA playing and practice season rules shall be followed.
Question 5: If I participate in skill instruction and practice in the fall with no competition, how does this impact my PSUAC and USCAA eligibility, and will I utilize a season of competition?
Answer: A student-athlete must participate in competition against outside competition to utilize a season of eligibility.
Question 6: How will the cancellation/postponement of fall sports impact my academic eligibility?
Answer: Faculty Senate 67-30 provides the University eligibility requirements for student-athletes to be eligible to practice and compete they must meet certain status conditions. The PSUAC Eligibility Committee can review any waivers for future eligibility if a student-athlete does not meet the standards due to extenuating circumstances. Additionally, next week the USCAA Board of Directors is reviewing recommendations that would provide waivers for student-athletes that do not meet future eligibility requirements due to COVID-19.
Question 7: The PSUAC announced it is postponing fall sports, what about the other Penn State Commonwealth campuses that sponsor intercollegiate athletics?
Answer: The University has established a Commonwealth Campus Athletics Safety Subcommittee that continues to monitor University, national organization, state, and local guidelines relative to resocialization of sports on our campuses. Decisions specific to competition are driven by campus' respective conferences. On July 17, 2020, the NEAC (Abington, Berks, Harrisburg) announced that it is cancelling fall sports competition and would be making a decision on winter and spring sports at a later date. The AMCC (Altoona, Behrend) continues to monitor the national landscape and the President's will meet again on July 31, 2020.
If you have additional questions, please contact the athletics staff:
Athletic Director Bobbi Caprice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Scarpone: email@example.com
Recruiting & Retention Coordinator Myeisha Matos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Athletic Trainer Spencer Sheely: email@example.com