WESTFIELD, Mass. – The NCAA Board of Governors has outlined several criteria, including return to sport guidelines on testing and requested that each division make additional interpretations and decisions for their divisions. In response, one of the recent actions by the NCAA Division III Administrative Committee was to recommend member schools not compete in the fall term to avoid potential increased health and safety risks.
After on-going consultation with the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Presidents, athletic directors, affiliates and athletic trainers while also aligning with the NCAA recommendations, the MASCAC will suspend all winter sport contests until second semester. Winter sports are permitted to practice and train on campus during the fall semester.
In accordance with NCAA recommendations, winter practices will be permitted in the first semester and restart during second semester for men's and women's basketball, men's ice hockey and men's and women's indoor track and field.
Although there won't be contests for winter sports during the fall semester, the state universities are planning to provide student-athletes with on-campus, in-person practices, conditioning and training opportunities during the fall semester to support their physical and mental well-being. These practice and training opportunities will not use a year of NCAA Eligibility and will be done in compliance with the campus, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols.
"The MASCAC Presidents have been continuously monitoring the pandemic and guidelines from local, state, federal and NCAA officials which has assisted us in making the difficult decision to suspend winter sports during the fall semester," said Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James Birge, Chair of the MASCAC Council of Presidents.
While we continue to plan and track the pandemic, the MASCAC hopes to provide an athletic experience for the fall, winter and spring student-athletes during the second semester.
"As the MASCAC continues to monitor and assess for the health and safety of our studentathletes and communities, we are hoping to provide a meaningful winter and spring season along with competitive opportunities for the fall sports during the second semester," MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said. "The NCAA, state guidelines and the infection rates will determine if we are able to provide those opportunities."
Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the MASCAC will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with special features, facts and trivia commemorating the event. Our conference has a rich history of success on the playing field and in the classroom. Over the academic year, the conference will be highlighting the student-athletes, teams, coaches, and administrators from the last 50 years.
President James F. Birge, Council of Presidents Chair
President Fred Clark, Bridgewater State University
President Richard S. Lapidus, Fitchburg State University
President Javier F. Cevallos, Framingham State University
Admiral Francis X. McDonald, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
President John D. Keenan, Salem State University
Interim President Roy H. Saigo, Westfield State University
President Barry Maloney, Worcester State University
Angela Baumann, MASCAC Commissioner
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation's oldest Division III men's and women's playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC member schools 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.