Emory University and University of Chicago have canceled all sports competitions – as well as training activities, in Emory’s case – during the upcoming fall semester, including those for winter sports, they announced Friday.
“The university and the athletics department have been working tirelessly to explore scenarios for a return to intercollegiate competition, club sports and intramurals, while keeping the health and safety of our students, coaches and staff as the primary focus,” Emory Vice President/Clyde Partin Sr. Director of Athletics Michael Vienna said. “With that as our guiding principle, we cannot appropriately return to sport at this time. As more information regarding COVID-19 emerges, we determined the most effective way to mitigate risk of exposure to our campus community was to suspend all athletically-related activity for the fall semester.”
“While this is a very disappointing outcome of the careful and deliberate process to evaluate the feasibility of a fall season, it reflects the most current public health and epidemiological guidance from the CDC, Illinois and Chicago public health agencies, NCAA, and specialists from UChicago Medicine,” UChicago Interim Director of Athletics Rosalie Resch said. “Moreover, UAA’s announcement last week about the fall conference schedule, the city of Chicago’s emergency travel order, and the limited availability of regional non-conference opponents led the Working Group, which includes members of the coaching staff, to conclude that there is not a realistic scenario in which we can appropriately conduct competition at this time.”
UChicago is, however, inviting fall sports athletes back to campus Sept. 2 to begin a “phased-in program” to enable students to safely return to training in-person. The school will continue to evaluate it plans for winter and spring sports.
The announcements leave the upper ranks of Divison III scarce should any competition be happening around the country in the early winter sports season. Emory and UChicago’s women’s teams finished first and sixth, respectively, at the 2019 Division III NCAA Championships; Emory’s men finished second and UChicago’s finished eighth. Kenyon, another perennial top three finisher for both genders, already announced it won’t be competing this fall, as did MIT, Williams and Pomona-Pitzer.
Denison, the third team that is historically in the battle for a team title, has yet to make an announcement.