| The Enterprise
On Friday, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, which is the home to Bridgewater State University, announced it was canceling all fall conference competition during the spring semester.
MASCAC schools will be allowed to schedule non-conference games at their own discretion and will allow for fall and winter athletes to train.
“The MASCAC office has been meeting regularly with the presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers and other essential staff to consider ways we can bring our student-athletes back to the playing field safely while adhering to all state, federal and NCAA guidelines,” said MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann in a press release from the conference. “Regrettably, the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus and the risk of community spread through conference competition proved too great a risk to our student-athletes to engage in conference play. With the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff as our priority, the difficult decision was made to cancel the fall in spring MASCAC competition.“
Athletes who partake in the training opportunities available during the spring semester will not lose a year of NCAA eligibility.
At BSU, the Bears haven’t ruled out the idea of finding some competition for the fall sports affected.
“Bridgewater State will be looking at the options available to us for external competition for our fall sports during the spring semester,” said BSU director of athletics and recreation Dr. Marybeth Lamb. “Of primary importance is the ability to provide a safe environment for our student-athletes and staff, along with managing the testing and environmental factors consistent with university, state and federal guidelines.”
“The MASCAC Presidents know the value of intercollegiate athletics to our campus community and how important sports are to our student-athletes. The news that we need to cancel the fall conference competition is understandably disappointing, but the health and safety of our students and staff is of the upmost importance,” said Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James Birge, Chair of the MASCAC Council of Presidents. “These are unprecedented times and making the difficult decision to cancel fall conference competition is equally unprecedented. We will continue to monitor the facts and re-evaluate the status of athletics as information and data evolves.”
The MASCAC Presidents are hopeful that a spring sports season will occur and plan to announce their decision in February.
The schools in the MASCAC, which is the nation’s oldest Division 3 athletic conference, include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men’s ice hockey, while Western Connecticut State University joined the conference as a football affiliate member in 2013. Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Mitchell College and Springfield College joined as men’s golf affiliates in 2019.