Worcester State University, in coordination with the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), has made the difficult decision to suspend all varsity athletics for the Fall 2020 season.
“It is a sad day to have to notify our student-athletes that our fall season has been suspended,” said Worcester State Director of Athletics Michael Mudd. “I know they have been working hard all summer to prepare for this upcoming season, and my heart aches for them. The conference did everything it could to create an environment to host intercollegiate athletics in the fall, but ultimately that just wasn’t possible.”
“Our goal is to provide you with a great experience, and at this moment we aren’t confident the fall season would be safe or an enjoyable experience because of the virus and the restrictions resulting from the virus,” Mudd wrote in a letter to Worcester State student-athletes.
The official announcement from the MASCAC can be read in its entirety below:
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) announced today that the eight MASCAC Presidents made the difficult decision to suspend the fall 2020 athletic season, including all indoor and outdoor athletic competition.
“The MASCAC Presidents know the value of intercollegiate athletics to our campus community and how important sports are to our student-athletes. The news that we need to suspend the fall season is understandably disappointing, but the health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance,” said Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James Birge, Chair of the MASCAC Council of Presidents. “These are unprecedented times and making the difficult decision to suspend fall athletics is equally unprecedented. We will continue to monitor the facts and reevaluate the status of athletics as information and data evolves,” said President Birge.
The MASCAC office has been meeting regularly with the presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers and other essential staff to consider ways we can bring our student-athletes back to the playing field safely while adhering to all state, federal and NCAA guidelines with the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff as our priority.
“Unfortunately, the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus and the risk of community spread through conference competition proved too great a risk to our student athletes to engage in conference play. With the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff as our priority, we made the difficult decision to suspend the fall 2020 MASCAC season,” MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said.
Although there won’t be fall contests, the state universities are planning to provide student-athletes with on-campus, in-person practices, conditioning, and training opportunities during the fall semester to support their physical and mental well-being. These practice and training opportunities will not use a year of NCAA Eligibility and will be done in compliance with the campus, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols.
The conference is considering alternative competition options such as shifting fall athletics to the spring. The conference is working with the NCAA, conference teams, MASCAC presidents, and state officials to determine the viability of such a plan. Winter sports are still being evaluated and will be addressed in the fall.
Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the MASCAC will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with special features, facts and trivia commemorating the event. Our conference has a rich history of success on the playing field and in the classroom. Over the academic year, the conference will be highlighting the student-athletes, teams, coaches, and administrators from the last 50 years.
President James F. Birge, Council of Presidents Chair
President Fred Clark, Bridgewater State University
President Richard S. Lapidus, Fitchburg State University
President Javier F. Cevallos, Framingham State University
Admiral Francis X. McDonald, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
President John D. Keenan, Salem State University
President Ramon Torrecilha, Westfield State University
President Barry Maloney, Worcester State University
Angela Baumann, MASCAC Commissioner