The Southern Conference Council of Presidents announced Thursday that the league will not have fall conference competition due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for nonconference contests if desired. It is the intention to move the fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring.
“Earlier today, the Southern Conference Council of Presidents voted to postpone 2020 fall sports to the spring, but left open the option of playing non-conference contests this fall,” Director of Athletics Martin Newton said. “While there are still many questions to be answered, I look forward to working with the SoCon office and our member institutions as we develop a pathway to play this spring. Today’s news may change the way we approach this semester, but the perseverance our student-athletes, coaches and staff have shown during this difficult time has been uplifting. I am confident that we will see the Bulldogs back on the fields and courts soon.”
Samford’s fall sports impacted by this decision are football, men’s and women’s cross-country, women’s soccer and volleyball. Practice and competition for some sports that have their championships in the winter/spring but traditionally have fall practice and competitions (men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball and softball) will be determined by each institution.
Southern Conference Commissioner Jim Schaus said this is not a decision he took lightly.
“This decision was made with extensive evaluation and conversation,” Schaus said. “Ultimately, we felt it necessary to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff. This decision was also supported by the conference’s medical advisory committee,” Schaus said. “I am greatly saddened to not be able to conduct our fall conference competition. We know what this means to our student-athletes, coaches, staff and loyal fans, but safety must come first. We are still hopeful that we can have these sports successfully compete in the spring. We will continue to daily monitor the COVID-19 situation in order to make prudent and necessary decisions regarding athletic practice and competition in the future.”