The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents has announced fall competition and championships in the sports of football, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will be postponed due to the concerns and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision also includes the fall competitive schedules for men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis as well as the non-traditional competition seasons for baseball and softball.
OVC football-playing institutions that are able to demonstrate a team’s willingness and readiness to compete based on the NCAA’s Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition and the NCAA’s mental health guidance are approved to play up to four nonconference scheduled games.
In making its determination, the Board asked the conference membership to develop plans for conference competition and championships in the spring semester for the impacted sports.
“After careful deliberation, weighing all the factors as presented, and given the current uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVC Board of Presidents voted to postpone the Conference’s fall sports to the spring, said Beth DeBauche, OVC Commissioner. With the focus on student-athletes, the Conference leaders made this value-based decision with a commitment to continue to monitor the evolving situation and to strive to establish meaningful competitive opportunities in the spring for our fall sport student-athletes.
“While we understand there are many student-athletes, families, and communities that are disappointed by the lack of Conference competition this fall, and we deeply share that disappointment; it is the OVC’s ardent intention to ensure seasons postponed are not seasons canceled if the facts support it. I want to thank our student-athletes and coaches for their resilience during these trying times, our staff and administrators for all their hard work and planning over the past five months, and the presidents and chancellors for their strong and principled leadership over this outstanding Conference.”
UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kurt McGuffin released the following joint statement. “Today’s decision by the Ohio Valley Conference was the correct and necessary move. It is our responsibility to prioritize the safety of not only our student-athletes but everybody around them – including coaches, staff, fans and the general campus population. It has been a grueling process where several scenarios were considered but the unfortunate reality is that the fall season presented many risks moving forward as scheduled.”
Athletically-related activities for enrolled student-athletes will be evaluated consistent with NCAA legislation and guidance, as well as state, local and institutional parameters and communicated to OVC institutions and its student-athletes accordingly.
The plans to play scheduled winter and spring sports remains unaffected at this time.