NORFOLK, Va. – The Council of Presidents and Chancellors of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced July 16 that the league will suspend all sports competition, championship and non-championship segments, for the 2020 fall season, as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. A decision is yet to be made on whether fall sports schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester.
The conference currently plans to proceed with winter sports competitions as scheduled, unless health and medical professionals advise otherwise, and will apprise the public on further decisions.
The Council of Presidents and Chancellors took this action out of a concern for the safety as well as the physical and mental health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, support staff, faculty and fans. The rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases along the eastern seaboard heavily influenced the council’s decision as the data suggests that the African American and other minority communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The MEAC is committed to ensuring that the correct measures are in place to reduce exposure to the virus.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our number one priority. We have made the decision to suspend all sports competitions after careful review of the current conditions and consideration of the potential exposure that regular travel to competitions may cause and ongoing extensive physical contact,” said Howard University President and Chair of MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “While our competitions have been suspended, each member institution will plan ongoing engagement of all student-athletes to ensure optimization of their physical and mental well-being as they continue their matriculation.”
“Obviously this is an arduous decision because everyone wants to have a fall season for student-athletes, fans and others,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure the mental and physical health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is paramount. It is imperative that everyone recognize that is our first and foremost responsibility.”
MEAC institutions will continue the resocialization process for student-athletes which encompasses mental and physical health counseling, strength and conditioning protocol and compliance with all COVID-19 safety requirements.
Further updates will be made as so warranted.
— MEAC press release
Coppin State issued the following statement:
Dear Coppin Community:
You have shown great resilience and patience as our university has continued to navigate through the unpredictable and unprecedented disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for that, we are extremely grateful.
Unfortunately, today, we are announcing that all Coppin State University fall sports has been suspended, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Council of Presidents and Chancellors in consultation with member institution athletic directors.
This will affect our cross country and volleyball sponsored athletic teams. We want all our scholar-athletes, parents, and alumni to know that CSU will honor all athletic financial aid awards.
Like all decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19 pandemic, this was a difficult one. Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our students and community. We must acknowledge the fact that our teams travel to other MEAC institutions and cannot compete without breaking in some form from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, sports events also invite individuals to our campus who may not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.
We know this news is disappointing to our scholar-athletes, especially our seniors, as well as the entire Eagle Nation. While we can appreciate your disappointment, please note the university will always prioritize your health and safety above all else.
We are in this together and we encourage you to take comfort that we will work through this pandemic and come out stronger.
Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D.
President, Coppin State University
Mr. Derek Carter
Athletic Director, Coppin State University
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Morgan State Athletics