WATERVILLE, Maine — The North Atlantic Conference Presidents’ Council offered support for tentative plans to conduct winter sports during the spring semester, but opted to wait until January to make a final decision based on the state of the pandemic at that time.
The NAC includes Vermont schools Northern Vermont University-Lyndon and NVC-Johnson.
The Council also affirmed support for allowing institutional autonomy to conduct athletic activities regardless of the final decision on a conference schedule or championship.
The NAC sponsors four winter sports – men’s and women’s basketball, and new this year, men’s and women’s swimming & diving.
Tentative plans to begin conference basketball games Jan. 29, 2021 remain on hold for now. The conference has several options for adjusting the planned schedule as needed in response to the pandemic. The first NAC swimming & diving event is slated for March 13-14, 2021.
“We are committed to providing student athletes with an opportunity to play their sport if it is safe for them and our campuses and wider communities to do so,” said Presidents’ Council Chair Ray Rice, also the president at UMaine-Presque Isle.
“The coronavirus will ultimately determine the fate of winter sports in the NAC, and we are cautiously optimistic that the worrisome trend we are seeing nationally right now will change course in a way that allows for safe athletic competition.”
USCSA cancels championships
BOSTON, Massachusetts. — The U.S. Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association has cancelled the 2021 National Championships. Citing concerns from its membership regarding the safety of attendees and travel restrictions, the USCSA will focus on enabling the regular season and local competitions where conditions permit.
“The entire organization has been working very hard in the off-season to make our 2021 National Championships possible,” said USCSA President Chris Shumeyko. “Unfortunately, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented too many challenges that prevent us from ensuring the safety and well-being of our members, which is our top priority, and ultimately led to our decision to cancel the event. I want to share our sincere apologies, especially to our Seniors, and I thank everyone for their patience and understanding,”
This decision was made with input from the USCSA’s COVID-19 Task Force, the National Championships Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee. The uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to the determination that it would not be safe to host athletes from across the country at a pinnacle event this year.
With the cancellation occurring before the start of competition, Conference Coordinators have more flexibility to adjust their regular season schedules to support the needs of their conferences. Standings will still be posted for conference competition for those willing and able to participate.
The Academic Affairs Committee has approved an eligibility waiver for any full-time enrolled student athlete in the 20-21 academic year. Due to the ongoing uncertainty around competition this season, athletes who compete this season will retain a year of eligibility for use in future academic years.
SMC gets high marks
COLCHESTER — Saint Michael’s College was among the top three in NCAA Division II in student-athlete graduation rate for the eighth straight year in 2020, as data released by the NCAA on Tuesday revealed the College’s student-athletes achieved an Academic Success Rate of 98% for the most recent cycle. Saint Michael’s was one of the top two in the Northeast-10 Conference for the 14th straight year.