Colby College campus in Waterville is seen in this February 2019 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

Winter sports have been canceled for Maine’s Bates, Bowdoin and Colby colleges.

It’s yet another blow for college athletics amid the upheaval the coronavirus pandemic has brought to campuses in Maine and beyond.

The New England Small College Athletic Conference said Thursday that many schools within the conference have limited students’ return to campuses until early 2021, which leaves little “meaningful” time for conference play.

Many schools have also instituted strict physical distance guidelines, limited off-campus travel and restricted visitors to their campuses, the conference said.

“Given these institutional policies and calendar changes, the NESCAC Presidents have unanimously decided to cancel NESCAC conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season,” conference officials said.

Despite the cancellation of the winter season, students can still participate in practices, strength training, conditioning and other activities.

That decision comes after the conference decided in July to cancel the fall sports season, affecting play at Bates, Bowdoin and Colby.

Discussions continue about the possibility for a spring season.