After extensive deliberations, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Presidents Council has voted to postpone conference competition and championships for fall and winter sports through the end of the 2020 calendar year.
The league declared in a statement about the decision that it remains focused on providing meaningful competition for all student-athletes in 2020-21, which includes an intention to sponsor conference competition for fall and winter sports in the spring semester.
“The ODAC is one of the nation’s premiere Division III athletic conferences precisely because of our long-standing commitment to the student-athlete experience at all of our institutions,” said Dr. David Bushman, President of Bridgewater College and chair of the ODAC Presidents Council.
“In light of the broader public health concerns surrounding athletic competitions, the well-being of our campuses and everyone involved in athletic competition made this decision the right one,” Bushman said. “We have great athletic department leadership across the conference and a superb conference staff and we are all committed to hosting meaningful competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
To help the ODAC and its member schools provide their student-athletes with the most complete athletic experience possible, NCAA Division III is considering a blanket waiver that would provide unprecedented scheduling flexibility. The scheduling change would supply all conference sports with more time for individual and team skill instruction, strength and conditioning, leadership development and other athletically related activities during the academic year as health and safety conditions allow.
“The conference’s leadership worked extremely hard to explore ways we might have conducted conference championships and competition in the fall,” said ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “Those conversations involved a number of options, but none of them could change the current impact of the virus and its prevalence in our society.
“A safe return for students and the sustainability of campus life is a priority for all our members,” Bankston said. “The combination of fall, winter and spring sports in the second semester is challenging, but the ODAC is committed to providing all student-athletes with a meaningful conference regular season and championship experience in a safe manner.”
The conference will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics. The ODAC leadership will communicate further developments regarding competition in 2020-21 as solutions are finalized and implemented.