CARMEL, Ind. -- After extensive deliberations, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to modify the timing of conference competition and championships for fall sports classified by the NCAA as high contact risk (football, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball). The Conference will move the start of those sports' competitive seasons to the spring. The HCAC is committed to offering engaging athletic experiences for student athletes in these sports with extensive team activities this fall followed by spring competitive seasons. In adjusting to the challenges presented by the pandemic, these modifications maintain safety
The decisions on shifting the competitive seasons for these high contact risk sports came after careful analysis of whether HCAC institutions could successfully fulfill NCAA testing recommendations without drawing vital health resources from their local communities. In addition, the conference feels that as continued scientific and testing gains are made with respect to the CoVid-19 virus, a spring season for the high contact risk sports will be safer for our student-athletes. Finally, with the recent NCAA waiver allowing for flexibility in how teams' seasons are structured, the Council of Presidents felt that students could still have meaningful experiences this fall, even without conference competition.
Based on their risk classifications as assigned by the NCAA, the HCAC will progress forward with fall seasons in the sports of golf, tennis and cross country. The Conference will also schedule some competitions for the sports of baseball and softball in the fall that will not count toward league standings.
A decision on the timing of basketball season (defined as high contact risk sport by the NCAA) will be made in the near future. Swimming and diving is classified as a low contact risk sport and will continue forward with its standard schedule. The sports of indoor and outdoor track and field, men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse have also not been altered at this time.
The Conference will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics. The HCAC leadership will communicate further developments regarding competition in 2020-21 as strategies are finalized and implemented. 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.
"While this is disappointing for our student-athletes and staff, we are not alone as this decision is being made by conferences and universities all across the country," Anderson Athletic Director Marcie Taylor said. "My heart aches for our student-athletes, but we know this is the right thing for their health and safety, and our community at this time."
"We are committed as an institution to providing the best possible campus experience this fall under the current health conditions, which includes offering meaningful athletically related activity during the fall semester," Taylor continued. "Our coaches have done exceptional work this spring and summer to remain engaged with student-athletes. They were instrumental in guiding them through a very challenging time during the spring semester and will continue to do so as students return to campus in August."