HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference announced Friday it has cancelled the remainder of spring sports regular seasons along with ODAC postseason play in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The cancellation applies to league competition. According to the ODAC's statement, individual schools have "autonomy over practice schedules and non-conference competition."
Local ODAC institutions Eastern Mennonite University and Bridgewater College had previously released statements in response to COVID-19. On March 13, EMU announced "spring sports contests are suspended indefinitely." On March 12, Bridgewater announced "College-sponsored events – on and off campus – are cancelled for the spring semester. This will include athletics events."
Following Friday's announcement by the ODAC, Eastern Mennonite released this updated statement from athletic director Dave King:
"Today the Old Dominion Athletic Conference made the decision to cancel all remaining ODAC contests including the tournaments for the spring season. As noted in their announcement, that decision by the ODAC does not automatically cancel spring sports at EMU.
We are waiting until the university makes a final decision regarding online classes and the remainder of the spring semester before we make a final decision about our own sports programs.
Caring for and supporting our student-athletes during this time is now the main concern of EMU's athletics staff. While the events of the last weeks have shown us that there are more important things in life than sports, we know that the possibility of not bringing closure to a season or a career is heartbreaking."
Bridgewater athletic director Curt Kendall released the following statement Friday:
"The decision by the ODAC Presidents and Board of Directors made today was inevitable with the guidance we are getting from the CDC. Athletics competition took a backseat a few weeks back when the COVID-19 virus hit our country. We are sad for our Spring senior student-athletes who have had their final season shortened. At the same time, we thank them for their years of excellence on the field, court and in the classroom. Even more impressive is the admirable way they have handled this situation."
Full statement from the ODAC on cancelling spring sports regular season play and championships
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), via unanimous vote from its Presidents Council and Board of Directors, has made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 conference athletic campaign amid the growing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and its continued effect on decisions made on-campus as well as throughout the region. The cancellation includes all regular season league play as well as ODAC postseason and championship competition.
Per its announcement last week, the ODAC’s leadership remained in close communication as they monitored the evolving landscape. While this choice definitively closes the ODAC portion of all athletic schedules, each member school still maintains autonomy over practice schedules and non-conference competition.
To all the ODAC student-athletes, coaches, institutional staff, and fans, know that this decision did not come lightly. The conference had remained hopeful for competition to resume this spring, but due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, the ODAC is prioritizing the health and well-being of not only those in ODAC and member school circles, but respective local communities by encouraging social distancing.
The ODAC looks forward to showcasing the achievements of its spring sport athletes over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for content about our spring sport seniors, end of season awards for those sports, and other features highlighting the 2019-20 athletic campaign.
Below is a table with links to the action plans enacted by each member institution. Stay up-to-date with individual campus responses using these links. Stay tuned for updates on league content via the ODAC website as well as its social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.