Johnson & Wales University Chancellor Mim Runey on Tuesday released an update to the university's Fall Re-opening Plan. Changes to that plan have recently been made due to the surge in positive COVID-19 cases nationwide. As part of those changes, athletic programs have been postponed through the end of calendar year 2020.
On July 13th, the USCAA announced a postponement of all fall sports championships. The fall championships will take place in the spring of 2021. In addition, a revised schedule for winter sports championships was announced and will be re-scheduled for 2021.
We have partnered with the USCAA, Eastern Metro Athletic Conference and university officials to align with federal, state and local guidelines when considering a potential safe return to play sports. The safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, administration and the campus at large are our highest priority. It is disappointing to postpone our sports seasons, but was based on the overall health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes. We are working on options for student athletes to return to conditioning, athletic instruction, and hopefully, return to play in the spring in accordance with USCAA guidelines and university mitigation measures. We will continue to evaluate winter sports, including basketball, and make decisions as the season approaches. We will also continue to explore options and review data, CDC guidelines, and the spread of the COVID-19 virus to ensure a safe return to campus and an opportunity to compete.
Dear Member Institutions,
The USCAA has continued to monitor the ever changing COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued our nation. First and foremost, the health and well-being of our student athletes has been at the forefront of our decision making throughout this process. Additionally, from the surveys completed by Athletic Directors and senior administrators, there is a growing concern by membership of being able to host athletic events safely and under current state and local guidelines. Therefore, the USCAA Board of Directors has 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.
Additionally, the Board of Directors has eliminated restrictions for weeks of competition identified in USCAA Bylaw 19.1. The change will allow institutions to permit practice, training opportunities, and competitions that are within federal, state, and local regulations, without worrying about exceeding their maximum week limits (contest maximums have not been changed). The USCAA will post Return to Play guidelines that promote CDC guidelines and health standards that provide for a safe atmosphere for student-athletes and fans. Additionally, we will be reviewing our policy for student-athlete eligibility for the 2020-21 season of competition.
Please review the attached document, which outlines a revision to USCAA policies and lists projected timelines for USCAA National Championship tournaments. During this time, Athletic Directors may contact me directly with questions related to these changes.
We understand that these disturbances caused by COVID-19 have caused significant frustrations for our administrators, and even more so for student-athletes. These decisions have not been easy and are not made lightly. It is my personal belief that disappointment has a unique ability to generate hope, and with hope comes inspiration to achieve new levels of excellence. As we pause to heal from this disease and ensure the health of our people, may we seek to inspire those that we lead to work to become stronger students, athletes, and individuals.
The USCAA will continue to develop its membership services during this period and appreciates your continued support of this organization that provides opportunities for small college student-athletes across the country.