The North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), home to Division III powerhouses Denison and Kenyon, has announced that they will be suspending all intercollegiate competition until at least January 1, 2020. The decision comes as schools continue to deal with how to restart athletics, and academics, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
NCAC Executive Director Keri Alexander Luchowski said that:
“An athletics experience at all NCAC institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and we recognize that this new decision is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and really, to every single one of us. We worked hard for months to create safe ways for students to compete this fall, knowing how much this means to our students and to our campuses, and that work was the foundation of the announcement we made on July 9th regarding conference competition. However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority. Sadly, the continued increase in the pandemic in many areas means that we cannot safely proceed with the conference competition we had planned for.”
While the conference says that they will “continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate competition this spring,” it seems unlikely that any competition will be allowed by member schools this fall. The conference said that they will be, “committed to providing an engaging and meaningful experience for student-athletes” during the fall semester.
Denison won the women’s NCAC title in swimming & diving last season, while the men placed 2nd. Both the men (by 78 points) and women (by 120 points) led the psych sheet scoring for the swimming portion of the 2020 NCAA Championships, which were eventually canceled because of the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.
NCAC schools have won 39 out of the 45 men’s NCAA Championships in history, while NCAC women’s teams have won 24 out of 38 that have been offered.
9 schools compete in the NCAC in women’s swimming & diving, while 10 compete in men’s swimming & diving.
The NCAC joins a growing list of Division III schools and conferences who have suspended fall sports for the 2020 school year. Earlier this month Kenyon announced independently of the conference that they would be suspending all athletic competition for the fall. This came as part of an announcement that they would be taking a staggered approach to return students to campus, with only underclassmen, transfers, and international students being allowed back during the fall semester. Because of this, juniors and seniors will most likely not be able to train with the team during the fall semester.
Also joining the list of teams to have canceled their fall seasons are Emory and the University of Chicago, both of which finished in the top ten on both the men’s and women’s sides in 2019. Chicago has said that they will begin allowing a phased approach to returning to training beginning on September 2nd.
Other NCAA Division III power programss that have canceled fall sports include MIT, Williams, and Pomona-Pitzer.