The presidents of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) member schools announced October 8 that all regular season competition as well as championships for the 2020/2021 winter season are cancelled.
In their announcement, the presidents of the NESCAC member schools pointed to limited off-campus travel, restrictions on visitors to campuses, and strict social distance protocols as reasons for cancelling the season.
Even though the season is cancelled, athletic teams will still be able to practice on campus and participate in athletic competitions if their institution allows it.
“We remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage in athletic activities,” wrote the presidents of the NESCAC member schools in an online statement. “Students may continue to participate in practice activities, strength and conditioning, skill development and leadership programming in accordance with NCAA, Conference and institutional policies, as well as state and local health guidelines. Institutions may schedule outside competition at their discretion.”
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan notified Bowdoin’s athletes of the NESCAC presidents’ decision via email on October 7. In his email, Ryan stressed the importance of considering what is best for athletes moving forward and whether they should take a semester, or more, off.
“[Y]our academic experience should drive your decision-making process,” wrote Ryan. “[B]ut we recognize the importance of your experience as a student-athlete at Bowdoin.”
The athletic department has released a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to give athletes a better sense of how Bowdoin athletics will work during the spring semester.
These FAQs communicate that while there is an option to hold competitions, the likelihood is very small.
“[W]e will continue to follow updates to NCAA, CDC and State of Maine safety guidelines and plans for the spring semester on campus in the weeks and months ahead and will update our plans accordingly,” wrote Ryan in his email. Later adding, “If developments in the upcoming months allow for a change in course from the information outlined [in the FAQs], we will move, safely, in that direction.”
Further, spring teams will be given priority over fall and winter teams in the use of facilities and fields. The remainder of these FAQs are available on the athletic department’s website.
“I sincerely wish I was writing to share a more optimistic outlook regarding our ability to compete this year,” wrote Ryan. “I am especially mindful of our winter athletes who had seasons cut short last year, our spring season athletes who did not have an opportunity to complete their 2020 seasons, and our seniors, who have represented the College so well during their time at Bowdoin.”