HCAC fall sports season updated with changes
By Alexa Shrake
Changes have been made to Franklin College’s fall sports season as health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
After a unanimous vote, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, or HCAC, released a statement allowing men’s and women’s cross country, women’s golf and women’s tennis to continue as normal for the fall season.
Sports that are labeled high-risk by the NCAA, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball, will all move to the spring.
They may take part in practices and scrimmages during the fall as their nontraditional season.
As for the fall sports that will continue as planned during the season, meets will be HCAC competitions only.
HCAC will schedule some competitions for baseball and softball, which are also considered high-risk, in the fall. However, those competitions do not count toward league standings.
Swimming and diving are considered low-risk and will continue with their normal schedule. Indoor and outdoor track and field and lacrosse have not been altered at this time.
Incoming Franklin College Athletic Director Andrew Hendricks said that there is no doubt that the intercollegiate athletics are a big part of many students’ lives.
“While this school year will look quite different on campus, we remain optimistic that our teams will have the opportunity to compete and reap the benefits of the Franklin College experience,” Hendricks said. “I have no doubt that we will persevere as Grizzlies and come out of this stronger than ever.”
In a press release from the athletic department, Franklin College President Kerry Prather said that the HCAC recognizes how important intercollegiate sports are to many of the students and to the small college experience.
“The modification to the fall sports schedules will prioritize everyone’s safety while maintaining as much of the student-athlete experience as possible,” Prather said. “These unique times require creative approaches, and the HCAC has done excellent work adapting to the challenges of the moment.”
“The HCAC will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics,” the HCAC COVID-19 update states. “The priority of the HCAC and its Council of Presidents continues to be the health and safety of everyone in our campus communities and those involved in intercollegiate athletics at HCAC member institutions.”