UAlbany, the America East, and the CAA announce the suspension of fall sports

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ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany Department of Athletics, in conjunction with the America East Conference, the Colonial Athletic Association and their member institutions announced Friday the postponement of fall sports competitions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
“The decision to postpone our fall sports season, while extraordinarily difficult, is the right call,” said UAlbany Director of Athletics Mark Benson.  “The well-being of our student-athletes is inseparable from the health, safety and well-being of our broader University community.  Postponing the fall season allows UAlbany to focus its full attention on planning for a safe and healthy return to campus life.  In the meantime, we are committed to supporting our fall student-athletes through this difficult period and using this extra time to plan a safe and exciting return to competition for our fall sports during the spring.”
 
America East
 
Instead of canceling fall sports, the America East and its member institutions will develop plans to accommodate hosting Fall sports competition during the spring 2021 semester. 
 
The decision and framework for fall sport operations were unanimously approved by the league’s Board of Presidents, chaired by UAlbany President Dr. Havidán Rodríguez.
 
“The past few weeks have been unquestionably difficult in working our way through the process that led us to this outcome,” said Dr. Rodríguez.  “However, this proactive decision by our members to postpone fall sports athletics competition for the duration of the first semester is in the best interest of all America East student-athletes, athletics departments and university communities.  Right now, it is imperative that each of our institutions can safely reopen to their broader campus communities and this decision supports those efforts.  We have always maintained that the health, safety and well-being of everyone within our conference, especially our student-athletes, is paramount.  Unfortunately, given the current persistence, restrictions and uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear to us now that this difficult, but responsible decision must be made.”
 
“This was not an easy conclusion for our membership to reach but it was made with care and diligence and with health and safety as the highest priority,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen.  “For the last several months, we have been working extensively with our membership to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing health and safety protocols, revising schedules and creating contingency plans.  We have remained optimistic that we could safely conduct a fall sports season, however, there are several external factors outside of our institutions’ control that will limit and disrupt our ability to deliver our student-athletes an experience they deserve.  While several outstanding issues and questions remain, we are hopeful that creative thinking and solutions will emerge in concert with improved measures to reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 as the academic year unfolds.”
 
“I’d like to thank Dr. Rodríguez, our America East Board of Presidents Chair, for his leadership and commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes,” Benson added.
 
UAlbany and the America East will continue to monitor public health conditions as they relate to COVID-19 locally, regionally, and nationally and provide future updates as decisions are made regarding winter sports.
 
CAA
 
The CAA is committed to exploring the possibility of conducting a football season during the spring 2021 semester and will continue to analyze this scenario as more information becomes available and conditions continue to evolve.
 
“I commend the Board of Directors for their forward thinking and open-mindedness when dealing with the uncertain and complex moment that we find ourselves in,” said CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio. “Each of our institutions is making the best decisions for their campus community, based on a totality of the circumstances analysis.”
 
For the 2020-21 academic year, institutions will have the ability to manage practice activities for
its football student-athletes in a manner that best meets institutional, federal, state and local
guidelines, as well as NCAA Rules.
 
On June 3, the CAA announced an “Extreme Flexibility Model” for its Olympic sports, affording its member institutions, not including football, the opportunity to adjust their competition schedules in order to maximize cost savings and safety when traveling.

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