MANSFIELD, MASS.- Following numerous conversations by the conference’s Presidents Council, The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) has decided to suspend conference play during the upcoming fall semester due to the health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19. The well-being of all constituents is at the heart of every decision the NECC makes. With that, the conference deemed it would not be prudent to participate in intercollegiate athletic competition during the upcoming semester.
Assuming the spread of the virus is contained and safety can be assured, conference play will resume during the spring semester.
“This decision, while difficult to make and heartbreaking for our student-athletes, coaches, and campus communities, conveys our top priority—to ensure the health and safety of all,” said Nancy Crimmin, Ed.D., Chair of the NECC Presidents Council and Becker College President. “The competition and comraderie that are part of athletic programs will surely be missed. The spirit and pride each institution have for their student-athletes and their teams will help lead us through this challenging time.”
The conference sponsors the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball during the fall semester. The NECC will now work to adjust schedules so that these sports are able to have a full regular season and championship element during the spring semester.
This decision also affects the potential start of play for men’s and women’s basketball, and those schedules will also be altered for a second-semester start-date.
The timeline for the release of all adjusted fall and winter sport schedules has yet to be determined.
“The decision to suspend athletic competition this fall is certainly not one our conference’s presidents took lightly,” said NECC Commissioner Jacob VanRyn. “We are committed to providing our student-athletes with the best experience possible and there were too many concerns surrounding the upcoming semester to feel it was in our student-athletes’ best interest to move forward with traditional conference competition.”
The NECC’s member institutions are committed to working together to provide extended and non-traditional learning, growth and developmental opportunities for their student-athletes during the upcoming semester.
“We have an opportunity during this time to enhance the experiences of our student-athletes in ways beyond competition on the playing field,” continued VanRyn. “Our leadership is committed to identifying those growth and development opportunities for our student-athletes. We are excited about the work that can be done.”
Practice and other athletic training opportunities for enrolled student-athletes will be permitted provided they are structured in accordance with each institution’s procedures and in accordance with local and state regulations.
“At the end of the day, this was a decision that no one wanted to make,” VanRyn continued, “but our leadership felt this was the best decision for the safety of all of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff.”
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 16 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.