Wabash College will join with members of the North Coast Athletic Conference in suspending athletics practices and related activities from Wednesday, November 25, 2020 through January 1, 2021. The NCAC also announced the cancelation of officially sanctioned competition and championships in winter sports. This decision also encompasses varsity sport programs that do not officially participate in the NCAC (wrestling and volleyball).
NCAC Presidents discussed both issues at length over the last month and reached consensus so that planning for the end of the fall semester and schedules for the spring semester can be completed and announced to the public.
"We are obviously disappointed in this outcome, especially for our seniors who have worked hard to get to this point in their careers, and for all of our student-athletes," said Wabash President Scott Feller.
Many colleges continue to struggle with the availability and accuracy of COVID tests, as well as the costs associated with the frequent testing that is required for competitive athletics. Wabash hopes to acquire inexpensive rapid test kits that would allow the College to schedule a limited number of competitions for winter and fall sports.
"The NCAC's decision allows us to pursue conference and non-conference opponents who share the same commitment to daily symptom monitoring, testing, contract tracing, and quarantine that Wabash has," said President Feller. "The elimination of conference championships for fall and winter sports is disappointing to all of us, but we remain hopeful that we can reclaim spring sports championships that were denied to our student-athletes earlier this year."
Director of Athletics and Campus Wellness Matt Tanney
and his staff will begin to create plans for how to reinstate structured, sport-specific workouts, practices, and related activities in January. They will also work to develop competitive schedules for winter and fall sports teams with schools who share Wabash's commitment to sound, data-driven COVID prevention and testing measures.
"The support of our scholar-athletes during the pandemic has not wavered, and we'll continue to prepare and customize athletics programming centered on student health, safety, and competition, Tanney said. "Access to consistent, reliable testing remains a principle factor in our return to play considerations."
Student-athletes participating in structured activities this fall should plan to leave campus on November 25. The College will communicate its plans for 2021 when they are finalized, though all plans are subject to change.