Sports programs for the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, which is part of the American Southwest Conference, won’t be competing in the fall.
The American Southwest Conference Council of Presidents announced Friday a decision to delay conference-scheduled competition and championship events for fall championship sports with anticipation of resuming ASC competition and tournaments in spring 2021. The delay includes the fall sports of cross country, football, soccer and volleyball.
The action to delay the sports seasons does not preclude individual institutions from engaging in athletics-related activities, including non-conference competition, conducted in accordance with Division III legislation as well as institution, local, state and federal public health guidelines.
“The decision to move fall sports to the spring semester was not an easy one, but after many discussions about continuing with normal fall athletic schedules, the American Southwest Conference presidents feel this was the best decision for all involved,” said Randy O’Rear, University of Mary Hardin Baylor president in a news release. “The student-athletes in our fall programs will have an opportunity to compete for conference championships and play meaningful contests in the spring without using a year of eligibility. In the midst of much uncertainty with recent COVID-19 spikes in our state and region, coupled with last week’s rigorous safety protocols released by the NCAA, which few DIII institutions can afford, the ASC presidents believe this is the best course of action at this time.”
The decision by the presidents was made after evaluation of Division III legislative waivers and Association-wide actions; consideration of conference scheduling options for fall sports; and review of current public health guidelines.
“Our student-athletes will have opportunities to practice and train this fall in preparation for spring competitions,” said Randy Mann, UMHB vice-president for athletics in a news release. “Our athletics department staff is working hard to provide a safe, rewarding experience for all of our student-athletes, and I am looking forward to seeing our teams return to competition.”
The American Southwest Conference membership anticipates approval of NCAA Division III playing and practice season waivers allowing greater opportunity for students in all sports to have a broad athletics experience throughout the 2020-21 academic year. Under the waiver, each campus would have flexibility in conducting individual and team skill instruction, strength and conditioning, and practices along with the prospect for enhanced academic and personal development, and other athletically related activities as health and safety conditions allow.
“The ASC Council of Presidents recognizes the disappointment of students who normally participate in conference-scheduled regular-season and championship competition during the fall semester,” said Amy Carlton, commissioner of the ASC, in a news release, “The conference leadership and administrators will continue in planning for the fall sports to resume conference competition and tournament opportunities in the spring semester as appropriate.”
Decisions on the ASC schedules and championships for basketball and spring sports will be determined at a later date.