Mid-American and CAA Latest to Alter Fall Sports Due to the Coronavirus

Two more NCAA division I conferences have made decisions regarding their fall sports seasons, as a slew of conferences are announcing decisions heading into the weekend. The Mid-American Conference (MAC) and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) both announced that they will be making changes to their fall competition schedules on Friday afternoon, following announcements by the Atlantic 10 and America East earlier in the day.

Both conferences lost crucial revenue when football games against several power-5 teams were cancelled, as the Big 10 announced it would only allow in-conference football matchups.

The MAC had 11 contests scheduled against the Big Ten this fall, and were among the hardest-hit conferences nationally by the ‘Big Ten only’ fall sports plan.

Neither of the two conferences sponsor men’s water polo, which is the only aquatic sport played during the fall season.

MAC

The MAC has decided to postpone the start of field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country competition until September 3. This decision allows coaches and schools to have more time to prepare for the return of students.

The first football games for conference teams are scheduled for September 5; with rescheduling, September 3, which is a Thursday, is the first day where football games would be likely to happen.

In its press release, the conference also noted, “The MAC and its member institutions will continue to assess the latest developments related to COVID-19 in weighing the potential impact on fall schedules.”

Right now, it does not appear that the updated timeline for fall sports will affect winter sports like swimming and diving. 

The MAC currently has 12 full-time members. Of those, only 2 sponsor men’s swimming & diving: Miami University (OH) and Ball State. They are joined by affiliate members Evansville, Missouri State, and Southern Illinois.

On the women’s side, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, and Toledo all sponsor swimming and diving programs in the conference.

This spring, the Akron women won their 7th-straight conference title. While the Zips didn’t qualify any swimmers for the (canceled) 2020 NCAA Championship meet, in 2019 they sent 3 individual swimmers and 4 relays, eventually placing 39th at the meet.

The men’s title was won by Missouri State, topping Miami by 80 points.

The conference previously announced that the 2021 conference championship in swimming & diving would be reduced from 4 days to 3 days.

CAA

The CAA has announced that it is suspending all conference competition in football for the fall season. With this, the conference is exploring the possibility of moving football to the spring 2021 season or having member institutions pursue an independent schedule for the fall season.

This move does not affect any of the other sports that the conference sponsors, but the conference released a statement on the state of these sports.

“The institutions of the Colonial Athletic Association recognize that we compete in a Conference made up of ten distinctive institutions that are located in eight states,” the statement said. “As one Conference, we share a commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes, campuses, and communities. As we each navigate this pandemic, we recognize that each of our ten members must rely on local and state guidance, as well as medical expertise that may result in different decisions and different timelines for each institution. Therefore, we support each other and the unique circumstances of each of our campuses and communities to make decisions that are best for them. We do so as ten institutions aligned as one Conference.”

The stance differs from an earlier announcement in which the CAA said that it intends to have every sport participate in a conference championship this upcoming year.

The CAA has 10 total full-time institutions, 5 of which compete in men’s swimming & diving (Delaware, Drexel, UNC Wilmington, Towson, William & Mary). In addition to those 5 programs, Northeastern and James Madison also sponsor women’s teams.

The James Madison women won their 3rd-straight conference title and the William & Mary men won their 6th-straight. The meet was highlighted by a flat-start 18.98 in the 50 yard free, which made him just the 4th swimmer from a mid-major Division I program to go sub-19 in that event. He was seeded 4th in the 50 free and 8th in the 100 free going into the NCAA Championships before they were cancelled.

LATEST LIST OF DIVISION I FALL SPORTS ALTERATION PLANS

 

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