Somerset, N.J. — In response to the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety and well-being of our campus and athletic communities being paramount, the Northeast Conference (NEC) Council of Presidents voted to postpone all fall sports athletics competition and championships. This postponement applies to NEC sponsored sports and impacts men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, as well as all other NEC sports scheduled to engage in competition this fall. The Council agreed to reconvene again by October 1 to evaluate the public health crisis and competitive options moving forward.
Guided by the NEC’s commitment to preserve and sustain the student-athlete experience as a core endeavor of the institutional educational mission, the Council of Presidents exhausted every option to develop policies and protocols that would support a safe return to play progression this fall prior to making this decision. Ultimately, the persistence of the virus and the potential for exposure among student-athletes, coaches, administrators, support staff, fans and local communities, coupled with the need to safely reopen NEC campuses this fall, made it impossible to execute a return to competition at this time without undue risk.
To enhance the experience for all student-athletes this fall, opportunities for practice, skill instruction, team and individual meetings, strength and conditioning and athletic training will be made available at each institution’s discretion in adherence with conference protocols and NCAA rules, along with campus, local and state health and safety guidelines.
“While this decision was exceedingly difficult and will be incredibly heartbreaking for our NEC student-athletes, coaches and administrators, the NEC Council of Presidents focused on the importance of the health and safety and well-being of our entire campus communities,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “This pandemic has challenged us all in ways we could never have imagined, and I applaud our student-athletes and coaches for handling this difficult time with grace and courage. We are committed to providing all of our student-athletes with meaningful practice and training activities this fall and look forward to reconvening our Presidents by October 1 to discuss future competitive opportunities.”