NEC Reaffirms Postponement of Fall Sports

On Oct. 2, the Northeast Conference (NEC) Council of Presidents reaffirmed the July 29 decision to postpone all fall sports competitions and championships. The Council said this decision was made in the best interest of the student-athletes and staff, as well as for the campus and surrounding communities.

For most fall athletes and coaches, the initial announcement in July seemed expected, as was the updated decision. Many conferences around the country began postponing fall competitions for the foreseeable future starting in July.

“All the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences have cancelled their football seasons for the fall,” said head football coach Mark Nofri. “I couldn’t see only the NEC playing when other major conferences like the Ivy League, Patriot League and CAA had all cancelled.”

Sophomore soccer player Anna Ludkiewicz expected fall sports to be postponed.

“I agree with the decision. I think our school is struggling enough with COVID-19, and to add out-of-state travel would probably have sent us home by now,” said Ludkiewicz.

Students returned to campus starting at the end of August. Since then, they have started the process of conditioning and playing in order to get back into shape and up to the level of competition that is expected of Division I athletes.

“My team has been lifting and conditioning five days a week, along with three days of one-hour skill work on the field,” said Nofri. “It is not ideal, and I know the players really want to get back to practicing football and preparing for when we do play again.”

Athletes at Sacred Heart have been training in pods, small groups of players that are consistent week to week. The idea behind the pods is to limit a potential spread of the virus to the entire team. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being in pods.

“By only being allowed to be in boats with our pods, it has been very difficult to actually have competitive lineups and find a fast boat,” said freshman rower Emma Scheibl.

Sacred Heart Athletics is hoping to move their varsity sports into phase three of practice by next week, which will allow for contact at practices, something that is essential for most fall sports.

“Due to the safety parameters set by the school, we have not been able to play contact in practice,” said Ludkiewicz. “As a soccer team, that really limits what we can do.”

Phase three will especially assist soccer players because they can now incorporate drills into practice like defending and scrimmaging.

According to the NEC website, the conference is planning to host a spring season for the fall sports given that the conditions and status of the virus are acceptable.

No revaluation date has been set by the NEC Council of Presidents as of right now. However, they plan to work with campus leaders to examine future competitive options that support the well-being of student-athletes, staff and campus communities.

After all of the emotions that came with losing this fall season, athletes and coaches alike have reacted positively to this news.

“I believe everyone wants the same thing, but only if it is safe and realistic to make sure all the student-athletes are healthy,” said Nofri.

About the author

Staff Writer

Leave a Reply