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Lancer fall sports pushed to spring

The Big South Conference announced Wednesday, Aug. 12, that due to concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, all fall sports season competitions will be delayed to the spring semester.

Michelle Meadows

Longwood University is a member of the Big South.

Additionally, the conference announced fall competitions for men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis, as well as out-of-season competitions for all spring sports, will be suspended as well.

The decision was approved by the Big South Executive Committee — which includes presidents and CEOs from every member institution — and suspends Longwood men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer competitive seasons until the spring semester, as well as fall competitions and exhibitions for baseball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, softball and men’s and women’s tennis.

All sports may continue with permissible athletics activities, as defined by NCAA guidelines, at their own discretion and in accordance with applicable local and state regulations and procedures.

The Big South’s announcement comes four days after the Mid-American Conference (MAC), which includes Longwood field hockey, suspended its fall sports as well.

“This is has been a terribly difficult few days for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and all our Lancer community,” Longwood Athletics Director Michelle Meadows said. “The disappointment is palpable, and my heart is heavy for our teams.

“While we understand and support this decision, we stand resolved to continue to support our student-athletes in every facet of their student-athlete experience. Our student-athletes will continue to practice and train with their coaches, expand their minds in Longwood’s classrooms, bond with their teammates and set their sights and energies on the goal of bettering themselves and their teams, in accordance with the appropriate medical protocols established by the NCAA and local health officials. And as part of the larger Longwood community, we take seriously our role as members and stewards of our campus and the Town of Farmville.”

The Big South Conference is one of numerous Division I conferences to announce the postponement of fall sports in recent weeks, joining the Atlantic 10, Big 10, Colonial Athletic Association, Ivy League, MAC, Pac-12, Patriot League and others.

Kyle Kallander

The NCAA Division I Leadership Council is also continuing deliberations regarding fall sports and national championship tournaments for the entire division, with a decision deadline of Aug. 21.

“We are all brokenhearted that we will not be able to provide competitive opportunities for Big South student-athletes this fall,” Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander said. “However, the path forward must protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, and some of the current trends and unknowns with COVID-19 have made that a huge challenge. Our intention is to shift these fall seasons to the spring, as we would like nothing more than to crown Big South champions in all 19 of our sports this year.”

Start dates for Longwood’s remaining winter and spring sports, including the November season openers for men’s and women’s basketball, are not affected by the Big South’s announcement.