FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) announced today, today, July 16, the eight MASCAC Presidents made the difficult decision to suspend the fall 2020 athletic season, including all indoor and outdoor athletic competition.
This include Framingham State University.
“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.
At this time, Framingham State does not have any athletic competitions scheduled for the fall semester for the seven fall varsity sports – women’s soccer, men’s soccer, football, field hockey, volleyball, women’s cross country and men’s cross country.
Although there will not be fall contests the State Universities are planning to provide student-athlete 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, city, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols. More details on these activities will be released in the coming weeks.
A decision on the status of the winter varsity programs will be made in the fall. Framingham State is currently exploring the possibility of having the spring sports – baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse and women’s track and field – hold their non-traditional seasons that normally occur in the fall. However, if this is to occur, the non-traditional seasons will be reduced and modified to provide the safest environment for our student-athletes, coaches and staff and will not include any competition.
“While we are saddened to have to suspend fall sport athletic competitions at this time, a decision had to be made with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in mind,” said Framingham State Director of Athletics Tom Kelley. “We understand how upsetting this news will be for many of our student-athletes and we will continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and it is our hope to have our student-athletes back on the field and court as soon as it can safely be done.”
Framingham State understands the important role of varsity athletics in the experience of our student-athletes and does not take the decision to suspend play lightly. At this time, no decision has been made regarding winter or spring sports competition during the Spring 2021 semester. It is our hope that 2021 would bring a safe and healthy environment for winter and spring athletic seasons.
Framingham State University is engaged in planning for the 2020-2021 academic year with the health and safety of all members of the campus community in mind. The University has previously announced that classes will resume with reduced on-campus instruction and limited capacity in the residence halls.
As always, the members of our coaching staffs and the FSU athletic department staff are here for all of our student-athletes to provide support and guidance as we all navigate this unprecedented time.
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation’s oldest Division III men’s and women’s playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC member schools include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men’s ice hockey, while Western Connecticut State University joined the conference as a football affiliate member in 2013. Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Mitchell College and Springfield College joined as men’s golf affiliates in 2019.