New Hampshire Football Report

Plymouth State season suspended

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), which includes Plymouth State University, announced Thursday that the eight MASCAC presidents made the decision to suspend the fall 2020 athletic season, including all indoor and outdoor athletic competition.

“The MASCAC Presidents know the value of intercollegiate athletics to our campus community and how important sports are to our student-athletes. The news that we need to suspend the fall season is understandably disappointing, but the health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance,” said Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James Birge, Chair of the MASCAC Council of Presidents. “These are unprecedented times and making the difficult decision to suspend fall athletics is equally unprecedented. We will continue to monitor the facts and reevaluate the status of athletics as information and data evolves,” said President Birge.

The MASCAC office has been meeting regularly with the presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers and other essential staff to consider ways we can bring our student-athletes back to the playing field safely while adhering to all state, federal and NCAA guidelines with the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff as our priority.

“Unfortunately, the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus and the risk of community spread through conference competition proved too great a risk to our student-athletes to engage in conference play. With the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff as our priority, we made the difficult decision to suspend the Fall 2020 MASCAC season,” MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said.

Although there won’t be fall contests, the state universities are planning to provide student-athletes with on-campus, in-person practices, conditioning and training opportunities during the fall semester to support their physical and mental well-being. These practice and training opportunities will not use a year of NCAA eligibility and will be done in compliance with the campus, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols.

The conference is considering alternative competition options such as shifting fall athletics to the spring. The conference is working with the NCAA, conference teams, MASCAC presidents and state officials to determine the viability of such a plan. Winter sports are still being evaluated and will be addressed in the fall.

Plymouth State statement on the decision: 

“While we fully understand the rationale for today’s statement from the MASCAC regarding the status of fall sports, we are equally heartbroken for our football student-athletes to know they will not be able to enjoy a traditional conference season. We support the decision of our colleagues in the MASCAC, as we all have the same primary focus – the health of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.

“We will continue to work with the league office as Commissioner Baumann and the MASCAC Council of Presidents explore the possibility of postponing the season until the spring. In the meantime, we have reached out to football programs in similar circumstances, most notably UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut as our Little East peers that sponsor football, to explore any opportunities for competition between the schools this fall.

“Plymouth State remains committed to providing a safe and competitive environment for all our student-athletes, and we believe this can still be accomplished in some form for our football program.

“It is important to note today’s announcement is specific to the MASCAC and, at this time, only affects our football program. The Little East Conference President’s Council is scheduled to review the action plan for Fall 2020 at the end of the month, but at this point still intends to offer a fall season.”

Kim Bownes, PSU director of athletics

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