D3 Powerhouse Kenyon Among the Latest Wave to Cancel Fall College Athletics

Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio is among the latest wave of schools and conferences to announce the cancellation of fall athletics.

They are joined by Division III Centennial Conference and Division II PSAC Conference, which made similar announcements this week.

“With the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, especially among young people, we cannot continue to plan for a return to competitive athletics this fall,” Kenyon said in announcing the decision. Intercollegiate athletics competition will be canceled for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. This is the right decision for the well-being of our entire Kenyon community. We appreciate your patience throughout this process, and we understand that for our student-athletes in particular, this news may be especially hard to take.”

Simultaneously, Kenyon announced that they would offer a mix of in-person and remote instruction, with students being welcomed back to campus on a rotating basis. First-years, sophomores, and new transfer students will be on campus for the fall semester, along with all international students. The school says it hopes to have all students back on campus in the spring, though it’s waiting to make a final decision about that.

Kenyon is breaking from the broader NCAC conference, which includes another swimming powerhouse Denison. The NCAC has said that September 18th is the first permissible contest date and that schools will play conference-only schedules and try to eliminate overnight travel.

Kenyon administrators said that they “do not know yet what lies ahead for our winter and spring sports seasons at Kenyon,” but that all intercollegiate athletics competition is canceled for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year.

While no decisions have been made on the future of winter sports seasons like swimming, this means that fall sports seasons for cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball will not be held.

The school has committed that, following NCAA guidelines, teams will be able to continue to practice and work out on campus through the fall. They did, however, say that they would not make an exception to the above rules regarding which students would be on campus for which semesters for athletes. In short, junior and senior swimmers at Kenyon won’t likely be able to train with the team until after the fall semester, at the earliest, unless they are international students.

That means swimmers like NCAA D3 Champions and Record breakers David Fitch and Crile Hart won’t be on campus training with the team this fall, among others. Both are rising seniors.

There is increasing national momentum, with several conferences having canceled fall athletics, toward moving all Division III swimming programs to a spring-only season.

MIT and the NESCAC conference, both significant players in Division III swimming, have also canceled their fall sports seasons. Franklin & Marshall head coach Ben Delia penned an editorial this week on SwimSwam advocating for the shift to a fully-spring season after his conference, the Centennial Conference, also canceled fall semester sports.

The Kenyon men’s swimming & diving team won a record-setting 31 consecutive NCAA DIvision III swimming and diving championships from 1980 through 2010, adding 3 more from 2013 to 2015 for 34 total titles.

The Kenyon women have won 23 total titles, which is nearly-double Emory’s 12 for the 2nd-most in D3 history. The Kenyon women’s latest title came in 2009, with Emory running off 10 consecutive titles since.

Both the Kenyon men’s and women’s teams were seeded to finish in the top 3 of the 2020 Division III NCAA Championship meet.

Kenyon College is located in Knox County in Ohio. With a population of about 61,000 northwest of the capital of Columbus, Knox County has seen relatively-few cases of coronavirus. So far, the area has had only 59 positive tests and 1 death caused by COVID-19. While the state as a whole has seen an increase in cases over the last month, Knox County continues to see very few new cases.

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Captain Ahab

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the following happened? Everything will return to normal after the election Tuesday, November 3, 2020. We just have to wait it out for 3 or 4 more months. Then the media will suddenly report no more covid 19. If Trump wins of course the radical left is going to protest and riot and it will get shut down real quick by the reserves. Again, this is just supposition based on the extreme and unreasonable behavior that I am witnessing now.


In today’s climate, anything is possible


Hey if it is all a hoax and gone then great! I would take it! Do I think it is? Nope


Can we stop postulating stupid theories? It is a virus! It is not political, it is not a hoax, and it is not going to disappear based on a certain party being in charge. Wear a mask! Be safe! It is a rough time for a lot athletes and programs. If you want to discuss theories of the virus existing I am sure you can find a message board somewhere else.

Awsi Dooger

Right wingers talk among themselves and the nutcase crap actually makes sense to them. That’s how they somehow believe those words can be hand carried outside that realm. Meanwhile the Republican governor of Alabama issued a statewide mask order today. Read her words. They destroy every argument the pathetic deniers attempt here: “We’re almost to the point where our hospital ICUs are overwhelmed, Ivey said, noting last week 87% of the state ICU beds were full. “Folks, the numbers just do not lie,” Ivey said.



Dang, not a fan of the right wingers I take it?


The “tolerant” left always respects dissent


Should look up dooger on google and see some of his work.


The tolerant left is intolerant of stupidity.


The “tolerant” left is equally capable of stupidity.

Texas Dad

Most hospitals ICU beds run above 85% during a normal operations. In the state of Texas only 15% of the ICU patients currenly have the Chinese Virus .


“It is not political”. That is about the most ridiculous comment of the year.


One cannot discount that some of this is absolutely political. It doesn’t mean that it is for everyone, but once the election is over you’ll see a different tone to this conversation coming from the media and politicians.

Awsi Dooger

Nothing is going away. You’ve got the two sides confused. This isn’t a disjointed migrant caravan from Central America desperately hyped for political gain. It is a deadly virus that will be impacting lives for decades. I posted the link last night regarding post-COVID fibrosis, which is a new term for irreversible lung damage among some survivors. If Biden wins the immediate plans will be to restore funding and emphasis to health organizations that should have been on top of this in the first place, if we didn’t have such a disgracefully incompetent president and administration


I think it will take more than printing some money and giving it to government health agencies to get past Covid-19. The money should be directed towards a cure/vaccine not bureaucrats who are going to make policy.


Wow, somehow you brought in a caravan reference to this conversation, forecasted the impact for decades, proclaimed Biden could fix it all with money, and took another shot at the pres just for good measure and after all that I’m not sure how I got the two sides confused. It’s political for both sides.


Oh, you mean to give money to the organizations like the WHO that are bought and paid for by the Chinese. Good plan.


Another member of team reality shows up .. the redpilling of swimswam

Corn Pop

Yes it is contagious but not deadly . Thankfully it i s not mowing down children like 1919 or polio. Or young adults like AIDS.


Not deadly?


You might also finally see some leadership on the topic at the national level after the election is over. Instead, we’re left with a president that consistently undermines his scientific advisors because the facts don’t fit nicely into his attempt at reelection.

But that’s OK, keep thinking the emperor has a beautiful robe.

Ryan Jacobsen

Joe has a long record of service. What has he done that makes you think he’s capable of good covid policy?


Not a single thing. Even before dementia, he was wrong on everything for the last 40 years.

Awsi Dooger

It is comical to pretend Trump is the victim. Nations rally around a leader during crisis. Trump would be cruising to re-election if he took coronavirus seriously. His approval would easily be 5-6 points higher, which is the difference between victory and eternal laughingstock. In February his 538 approval compilation was up to 44%. Trump was above 60% betting favorite to be re-elected. Trump faced two tests of instincts and competency in coronavirus and George Floyd. He flunked both in spectacular fashion. He flunked them because the mindset of his base ignorantly flunked them. The right wing can never afford an actual real time result where the spewings are tested. BTW, Walmart now requires masks nationwide as of July 20.… Read more »


So, in this conspiracy theory of yours… do you think the WORLD is in on this?


only the authoritarians and globalists are in on it … some governments want little to do with it. But social media has made it a worldwide phenomenon

Please and thank you

Mel, Good Morning! Your comments section does not have to be like this.

M Palota

There is an astounding hubris in a comment that suggests that COVID-19 is some plot to influence the American election. The ego required to make such a statement is beyond belief.

Around 500,000 people outside the United States have lost their lives as a result of this virus. Given the testing regime in places like India, that number is probably way, way higher. Not a single one of those people cared about MAGA, Trump, Biden or anything else American.

Reminds of the coverage of the tsunami in 2004: “Americans have holiday plans dispirited! And a lot of people died.”


Is DIII trying to move swimming to fall only or spring only? I would assume the latter but maybe I am missing something.

Jake fr State Farm

I have come to the realization that I am an extremist, and possibly tone deaf. Here in OH, the confirmed cases continue to rise but the # of hospitalizations & deaths are not spiking, especially in the under 24 demo’s. And yes, to respect others, I do wear a mask when out at the post office, barber, grocery…but the data I see does not warrant closing down schools & athletics — in my opinion that is.


I don’t think you are an extremist, but a calm and responsible individual. If more people act the way you do, we would be in a much better shape now. Extremists on both sides, esp those who politicize the pandemic, have created more problems, perhaps more serious than Covid-19, than the virus itself.

Nathan Smith

Kenyon’s student body is national and international, a relatively small percentage of the students are from Ohio. MIT, the NESCAC, and the Centennial schools are also in a similar position. So just looking at Ohio cases isn’t a good risk assessment from Kenyon’s point of view.


Speaking of Ohio. Here is an attorney from Ohio:


Great article and I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard to believe this is not about something more than our students and athletes health. The effects of closure are being disregarded. The data shows the best way for our society to move forward is to open our schools and return to competition

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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