MEC Pushes Return of Fall Sports To Spring
BRIDGEPORT — Because of additional requirements from the NCAA and the continued on-going pandemic, the Mountain East Conference is pushing its return to play for fall sports into the spring semester.
MEC Commissioner Reid Amos formally announced the decision Thursday via a press release and then met with the media via Zoom.
“We and our member institutions felt confident with what we’ve done with our protocols and, but when you combine the health issues with the new mandates it simply creates too great of a challenge in too short of a time to conduct fall sports,” Amos said.
Originally, the MEC had planned to split the fall sports, conducting some after a delayed start and then finish the seasons and crown conference champions in the spring semester.
Now, all 21 of the MEC championships for the 2020-21 school year will be crowned after the students return from the holiday break.
“The member institutions had managed the pandemic well, but there was a change in circumstances (with the NCAA) that caused us to have to delay,” Amos said. “The primary goal, if public health conditions allow, is to get to the point of having a meaningful season of competition.”
With the changes, the MEC tailored its calendar to help the student-athletes preserve a year of eligibility.
Since none of the athletes will play more than 50 percent of the NCAA-allowed contests, all of the athletes will maintain their current eligibility.
Last month, the NCAA announced that fall sports championships in Division II would be canceled, which also played a role into the MEC’s ultimate decision. Since there are no national championship opportunities, the MEC shifted to focusing on the conference title.
“We’re still able to provide championship opportunities,” Amos said. “We’ve received positive feedback from our member institutions about that.”
In football, for example, the MEC plans to play five regular-season games and then stage a conference championship games. Schedules and starting dates will be released at a later time.
“We’re able to do the championship game through the NCAA’s five, plus one scenario,” Amos said. “There is going to be (a lot) of competition in a compressed period of time, but we’re all going to have to manage.”
The sport of golf will have the opportunity to compete in NCAA tournament competition because it’s classified as a spring sport despite the fact that the MEC crowns its champions in the fall.
Along with the announcement of delaying the fall sports to the spring, the MEC also announced, in a press release, the following changes:
¯ Suspend competition for winter sports until no earlier than November 1.
¯ Suspend all competition in all sports indefinitely, with MEC board review by no later than Oct. 15.
¯ Suspend the indoor track and field championship for the 2020-21 season.
¯ All countable athletically-related activities (CARA), excluding the restrictions regarding outside competition, for all MEC sports are permissible (as allowed under NCAA rules and Board of Governors requirements) at the discretion of each MEC member institution.