MORRISVILLE, N.Y. - The SUNY Morrisville men's and women's basketball teams will be forced to remain in the stable for 2020-21 season.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), of which the Mustangs hoops teams are a member, has cancelled competition and championships for its men's and women's basketball seasons this academic year.
The NEAC Presidents' Council announced the decision, Friday, "out of an abundance of concern to protect the health and well-being of student-athletes, staff and campus communities."
"This has been a year of difficult decisions and I know how important athletics is to our students and our communities," said SUNY Morrisville President David E. Rogers. "I know this is the right course of action to keep everyone safe and healthy, and we are optimistic about coming through these challenges to return to competition in the foreseeable future."
There were three main elements that went into the Presidents' Council's decision to forgo basketball this winter.
The first cited issue was the increase of spread and positivity rates within the communities of its member schools. The NEAC's release it expects this trend to continue through the winter holidays.
Issues with testing was also a major factor in the decision. The NEAC said that challenges with the access, cost and turnaround time for results with regard to testing would make it difficult to meet the NCAA recommendations of testing student-athletes and staff multiple times per week.
The third element pertained to travel restrictions. The NEAC has conference membership that spans multiple states including New York and Pennsylvania. Current restrictions prevent certain forms of interstate travel, and many trips would require overnights stays, which make conference competition unfeasible.
Both NEAC and SUNY Morrisville officials stated that they will continue to monitor developments within the pandemic and the guidance of local, state and federal health guidelines to determine a safe return to play.
"With this decision, we are acting in the best interest of health and safety for our students, faculty, staff and local community," said SUNY Morrisville Interim Athletic Director Todd Kleinhans. "With the hopes of a vaccine approval and distribution in the very near future, we look forward to a time where our student-athletes are once again able to play the sports that led them to SUNY Morrisville and allow them to safely compete as Mustangs again."
The fall season for the NEAC was cancelled for this academic year, making winter the third straight sports season wiped out due to the pandemic (along with Spring 2020).
The NEAC said that a decision regarding the 2021 spring sports season will be made at a later date.