The University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics has decided to cancel its fall 2020 competition schedule for varsity sports, Athletics Director Al Bean announced today.
The decision follows careful consideration of health and safety risks to student-athletes and staff, especially given the demanding travel requirements and unique characteristics of the Little East Conference. The decision also comes after months of work and consultation with the University's Fall Planning Task Force, Student Health Services, the Huskies’ Medical Team, the Athletics Action Team, University Council, UMaine System administrators, and the leadership and members of the Little East Conference and the New England Hockey Conference.
“During this time, we considered myriad scenarios in hopes that a path forward could be possible; however, the risks associated with long-distance travel on buses and vans to Little East Conference destinations, as well as the complexities tied to competition itself presented too much,” Bean said. “Ultimately, we do not believe we can adhere to health and safety guidance for our student-athletes and coaching staff in these conditions. As difficult as it is to forgo the camaraderie and competition that our student-athletes have eagerly anticipated this fall, we need to do the right thing and step back for now.”
To date, many colleges, universities and athletic conferences have declared their intention to cancel fall semester athletics, and it’s likely that others will follow soon. As a result, the number of possible opponents in close proximity to USM has been significantly diminished. Our student-athletes will have opportunities to regularly engage with USM Athletics through skill-development and strength-training sessions as well as academic support and career development programming designed to help all Huskies reach their full potential.
The difficult decision was made with the full support of President Glenn Cummings and the University’s senior leadership team.
“This is a heartbreaking decision,” Cummings said. “Our student athletes make extraordinary contributions to the entire USM community. We look forward to working with our student-athletes to support their growth and optimize their NCAA eligibility.”