Back in May, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (a Division II conference) made the decision to cancel all sports for the fall 2020 semester. While the CCAA doesn’t sponsor football, it was the first major decision of its kind during the COVID-19 pandemic. The news left many wondering if other conferences would follow suit.
This morning, Bowdoin College (D-III – ME) announced that they’ve made the decision to cancel the fall football season as well as all fall AND winter sports during the fall semester. For some background before getting to the school’s statement, Bowdoin is a high academic school that competes in the 10-team NESCAC. The league plays a locked-in 9-game schedule in the fall against fellow conference members only and the league champ does not earn an automatic bid for the Division III playoff.
The statement from the school reads in part:
Unfortunately, we will not be participating in fall and winter varsity sports during the fall semester. This is one of the very disappointing outcomes of our plan. Athletics is a central part of the Bowdoin experience for many of our students and for the College more generally. NESCAC has not yet determined what will happen with conference play or how coaches in this extraordinary semester may interact with athletes on fall, winter, and spring teams during the fall semester, but I am hopeful that there will be significant opportunities this fall for coaches to work with those athletes who are both on and off campus. Varsity athletes living on campus are likely to have in-person workout opportunities with coaches, but unfortunately, students living off campus will not be permitted to participate in on-campus workouts. Last week, NESCAC released the following statement regarding the fall semester:
NESCAC institutions continue to focus on plans for the 2020–2021 academic year with the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and their communities the primary concern. As institutions finalize their plans for the coming year, federal, state, and local health guidance, as well as institutional policies, will guide their independent decisions regarding reopening.
As I have already noted, I am hopeful that there will be an opportunity for the winter, spring, and possibly fall varsity athletes to participate and compete in some form after January 1.
Maine has reported 25 new cases as a state as of June 19th, and have 2,629 total confirmed cases, 2,391 recovered cases, 336 hospitalizations, and 102 deaths according to data available publicly on their state website.
In today’s constant back-and-forth where we seem to see both good news and bad news surrounding the status of COVID based on region, this announcement coupled with yesterday’s release from the NFLPA advising players to not work out in groups together certainly don’t have things trending in the right direction for football everywhere in the fall.