NORTH MANCHESTER – After careful consideration and extensive deliberations, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Council of Presidents has voted unanimously to postpone conference competition in fall season sports that are classified as high risk by the NCAA.
Conference competition and conference championships in football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball will be postponed to the spring.
“Manchester University and its athletics staff is committed to offering its student-athletes an engaging athletic experience with extensive team activities this fall followed by competitive seasons in the spring,” said Rick Espeset, director of athletics and head baseball coach at Manchester.
“In response to the everchanging shifts in the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes place the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and campus community in the highest priority, while also ensuring an opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport. Manchester University is continuing to consult with health professionals to explore out of conference competition in these sports during the fall semester,” he said.
The decisions on shifting the competitive seasons for these high-risk sports came after careful deliberation and analysis of whether the HCAC institutions could successfully fulfill NCAA testing recommendations without drawing vital health resources from their local communities.
Based on risk classifications by the NCAA, The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference has decided to move forward with the fall season sports of golf, tennis, and cross country. Additionally, the HCAC will schedule competitions for the medium-risk spring sports of baseball and softball during the fall semester. These competitions will not count toward conference championships standings.
A decision on basketball and wrestling, which are classified as high risk by the NCAA, will be made in the near future. Swimming and diving, which is classified as low risk by the NCAA, will continue to move forward with its standard schedule.
The HCAC and Manchester University will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics. The HCAC leadership will communicate further developments regarding competition in 2020-21 as solutions are finalized and implemented. The priority of the HCAC, its Council of Presidents, and Manchester University continues to be a commitment to the health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and campus community.
Manchester University has developed a Q&A page that will address any questions at this time.