WEST HARTFORD, CT — The America East Conference Board of Presidents announced Friday a "postponement" of all league fall intercollegiate athletics "competition and championships" for the duration of the first semester. The University of Hartford is a member.
The board stressed the move was "not a cancellation" and cited "the health and safety of its member institutions' communities, the importance of successful institutional campus reopenings and the overall well-being of its student-athletes" as its top priorities.
The conference will develop plans for a competitive structure in the second semester and will identify a "working group" to begin studying the situation "immediately."
Athletics activities and student-athlete services for fall sports including but not limited to training, practice, strength and conditioning, athletic training and academic support will be permitted at each institution's discretion in adherence with NCAA rules and local and state health and safety guidelines.
The decision and framework for fall sport operations were unanimously approved by the league’s Board of Presidents. Further, the conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements at a later date regarding its winter sports, as necessary.
A statement from America East Commissioner, Amy Huchthausen said:
"This was not an easy conclusion for our membership to reach but it was made with care and diligence and with health and safety as the highest priority. For the last several months, we have been working extensively with our membership to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing health and safety protocols, revising schedules and creating contingency plans. We have remained optimistic that we could safely conduct a fall sports season, however, there are several external factors outside of our institutions’ control that will limit and disrupt our ability to deliver our student-athletes an experience they deserve. While several outstanding issues and questions remain, we are hopeful that creative thinking and solutions will emerge in concert with improved measures to reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 as the academic year unfolds."
A statement from University of Hartford Interim Director of Athletics, Maria Feeley said:
"The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is paramount, and it is our number one responsibility. This was not an easy decision for the America East to make — we all want to have a fall season for our student-athletes, fans and others — but it was made with health and safety as the highest priority. We look forward to a return to play as soon as we can, and I am confident that we will be stronger than ever when we can compete once again."