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MEAC announces plan for scheduling fall seasons in spring

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 3:20 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has unveiled their scheduling model for how its fall sports could be played in the spring of 2021 after the 2020 fall season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MEAC suspended its fall season on July 16.

The conference says next spring, football teams will play a schedule of six regional conference games, with teams split into divisions.

The MEAC says that Florida A&M would be put in the Southern Division, along with Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central and South Carolina State.

According to the MEAC, the spring football season would span from February 27-April 24, with a championship game set for May 1.

A volleyball season played in the spring, the MEAC says, would span from the first weekend of January through the month of February, with a conference volleyball championship being held the week of March 13-14 in Norfolk, Virginia, followed by a championship game to be played on March 14.

The conference says a regional schedule will be implemented for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball and softball as well.

“We appreciate the MEAC’s forwarding thinking approach of laying out options for fall sports next spring. The plan reflects the delicate balance of safeguarding the health of our student athletes while creating an opportunity for on the field competition, which is such an integral part of the college experience,” said FAMU President, Dr. Larry Robinson.

“We appreciate the MEAC for developing a comprehensive plan that would allow our student-athletes the opportunity to compete. COVID-19 has required our institutions to pivot and adjust to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes and respective campus communities. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to our fans, donors, season ticketholders, and campus community as the situations and further schedules develop. Our programs are still on a quest to win MEAC championships,” added FAMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Kortne Gosha.

The full release from the MEAC can be read below or by clicking here.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) has unveiled a scheduling model for how fall sports could be played in the spring 2021 semester, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the NCAA scheduling guidelines for fall championships being played in the spring. Each individual institution can opt out of competing in the spring based on local and state COVID-19 conditions.

This action follows the conference’s announcement in July that the fall season would be suspended.

“Although it’s still too early to tell if the coronavirus conditions will improve fast enough to allow us to reconvene spring sports, we want to be prepared with a plan of action,” Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University and chair of the MEAC presidents and chancellors, said.

Next spring, football teams will play a slate of six regional conference games, with teams split into divisions. The season would span from February 27 through April 24, with a championship game set for May 1. Volleyball season in the spring semester will potentially span from the first weekend of January through February, with the MEAC Volleyball Championship being held the weekend of March 13-14 in Norfolk, Va. The volleyball championship game will be played on Sunday, March 14. These dates are tentative and subject to change. Teams’ schedules will be available at a later date.

A regional schedule will be implemented for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball and softball. In addition to keeping the mental and physical health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff at the forefront, this scheduling model will also minimize the amount of time student-athletes spend out of class, eliminate air travel and reduce travel expenses.

The divisional breakdown will be as follows: Northern Division: Coppin State, Delaware State, Howard, Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State, Norfolk State. Southern Division: Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central, South Carolina State.

“As has been the case since this pandemic started in March, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, university staff and fans are paramount,” MEAC Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas said. “I want to thank both the Forecasting Committee and the Health and Medical Advisory Group for their tireless efforts in formulating this plan.”

The MEAC Forecasting Committee, comprised of several of the conference’s Directors of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrators (SWAs), has been working since April – meeting twice a week to formulate a variety of plans for intercollegiate competition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Forecasting Committee has consulted with the MEAC Health and Medical Advisory Group, which is made up of the league’s team physicians and head athletics trainers.

All options were considered, from a normal fall schedule to a modified fall schedule and moving the fall sports to the spring.

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