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Husson University will not be engaging in any athletic competition during the fall semester due to continuing health and safety concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the school announced Friday.
“I’m a strong supporter and fan of the Husson Eagles. The action we have taken today carefully considers the challenges associated with keeping our athletes safe,” Husson University President Robert A. Clark said in a statement. “Our priority is the health and well-being of all of our students, staff and faculty.”
There will be an opportunity for Husson student-athletes to practice in the fall on campus. There is also a possibility that competition scheduled to take place in the fall could be rescheduled to occur in the spring.
Fall sports include football, field hockey, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s tennis.
The New England Collegiate Conference, of which Husson field hockey is an associate member, announced on Wednesday that conference play would be suspended for the fall semester. The NECC also told their member schools, “assuming the spread of the virus is contained and safety can be assured, conference play will resume during the spring semester.”
In addition, football competition in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, of which Husson is a member, will not occur in the fall.
The CCC is also leaving open the possibility for football to compete in the spring.
Husson coaches and staff remain positive and committed to making this year special for student-athletes as they look to build even stronger programs for the future.
“Our staff and I are deeply saddened that we will not be able to participate in athletic competition this fall,” Husson Director of Athletics Frank Pergolizzi said. “The decision is based entirely upon the need to protect the health and welfare of each and every one of our student-athletes. I’m confident that it’s the right decision. We wish all of our student-athletes the very best for this coming academic year.”
Earlier Friday, the Colonial Athletic Association and America East — the conferences in which the University of Maine’s fall sports team belong — announced the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and UMaine said it would not be holding any fall sports.
The CAA and America East joined a growing list of conferences that have canceled fall sports along with the Ivy League, the Patriot League and NESCAC, which includes Maine colleges Colby, Bates and Bowdoin.
The Commonwealth Coast Conference, of which the University of New England in Biddeford is a member, also announced on Friday that it is suspending intercollegiate athletic competition for the fall semester, according to the University of New England.
“I know that this is a heartbreaking decision, not only for our athletes but also for our coaches and the UNE Community,” the university’s athletics director, Heather Davis, said. “But ultimately, the health and safety of our student athletes has to remain our top priority, and participating in competition in the midst of this pandemic puts our athletes at too great a risk.”
The university will suspend all fall semester athletic competition, including swimming and rugby, which are not part of the CCC, as well as club competition.