Dear Members of the UMass Dartmouth Athletics & Recreation Community:
Earlier today, the Little East Conference announced it would not conduct regular season conference competitions or championships for fall sports during the fall 2020 semester. This decision affects six programs at UMass Dartmouth: men’s & women’s cross country, women’s field hockey, men’s & women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The Little East also announced that the basketball conference season will begin after January 1, 2021.
On July 16, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference suspended competition in all its league-sponsored sports for the fall 2020 semester - a decision that impacts the Corsair football program. The MASCAC is formulating a plan to conduct fall sports sponsorship during the spring 2021 semester, and the league will have an announcement on the status of fall semester competition for its winter programs (including men’s ice hockey) at a later date.
Though the Little East is allowing member institutions to participate in the non-conference competition this fall, UMass Dartmouth will not explore that option. Intercollegiate competition involving all Corsair fall and winter athletic programs will be suspended through December 31, 2020, which additionally affects five other teams: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s indoor track & field.
The last four months have been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, and I know that you will experience a wide range of emotions associated with this decision. I share your disappointment and sadness, especially for those members of our senior class. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and campus community continue to be our top priority.
UMass Dartmouth is planning to provide student-athletes with on-campus conditioning and training opportunities during the upcoming semester to support their physical and mental well-being. The NCAA has granted a blanket waiver that will afford these opportunities without using a year of athletic eligibility. Members of the Corsair Athletic Training staff and UMass Dartmouth Health Services are working closely to finalize protocols, and additional details will be provided from those offices in the coming weeks.
As part of the optional conditioning, strength training, and individual skill development opportunities in adherence to the NCAA Sports Science Institute's Resocialization Guidelines, the Department of Athletics & Recreation is formulating plans for all student-athletes to conduct similar activities during the fall 2020 semester. Those plans will be provided in the coming weeks before the start of classes.
I encourage you to communicate with your coaches and teammates. Even though you will not be competing, you remain a very vibrant part of our campus community. I encourage you to be vigilant in your use of social media by refraining from making any comments that could be interpreted negatively and reflect poorly on yourself and your program.
The Department of Athletics & Recreation has formulated a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that provides additional information and resources that can be accessed before the start of the fall semester. Included in this are links and information related to athletic eligibility based upon recent actions taken by the NCAA. This information will be continuously updated and shared with both you and your coaches, and updates will be posted online at www.corsairathletics.com.
Your contributions to the UMass Dartmouth Athletics & Recreation family are invaluable as we navigate this devastating public health crisis. Please continue to stay safe and utilize all the resources we have available.
Amanda J. Van Voorhis
Director of Athletics & Recreation