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Patriot League cancels fall sports competitions; Army and Navy exempt from decision

BILL WAGNER
The (Annapolis) Capital (TNS)
.

Army and Navy are exempt from the Patriot League's decision that it won't conduct competitions for fall sports programs in 2020.

The Patriot League announced on Monday morning that its member schools will not participate in championship or nonchampionship contests in the various fall sports such as soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country.

That decision was made by the Patriot League Council of Presidents in recognition of how the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant challenges to its campuses and communities.

The Patriot League includes three Pennsylvania schools: Lafayette, Lehigh and Bucknell. The other members of the league are Colgate, Boston University, American, Loyola (Maryland) and Holy Cross.

A news release issued by the Patriot League said decisions surrounding winter and spring sports competitions will be made at a later date. It noted the possibility of fall sports being played during the spring semester.

Also, the opportunity for conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted provided health and safety conditions support such activities.

However, the Patriot League announcement does not apply to its two service academy members, which use athletics to fulfill the physical portion of the mission of developing future officers.

“Because the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education, the Council of Presidents agree that the academies may continue to engage in competitive opportunities as considered appropriate by their respective superintendents,” the release stated.

The Patriot League announcement said the Council of Presidents is committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives to providing future competitive experiences to fall sports student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships in the second semester.

“The collegiate athletics experience at all Patriot League institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and the (Patriot) League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans,” the release said. “However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority.”