CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Council of Presidents, after receiving and reviewing the latest information and guidance from the NCAA Division III leadership concerning the return to sport for fall, voted unanimously to postpone all conference related contests and competitions, including HCAC Championships slated for fall 2020.
The HCAC Council of Presidents had previously made the decision 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) and to conduct conference competition for those sports during the spring. The latest vote also postpones competition in those sports the NCAA classified as medium and low contact risk (women's golf, women's tennis and men's and women's cross country). The conference will be working with the coaching groups in each of these sports regarding the shift to a spring conference season.
The Council of Presidents felt that member institutions have made every reasonable effort to conduct safe competitions this fall, meeting the resocialization expectations of the NCAA. Given the recent statement from the Division III leadership, the Council voted to suspend conference related competition until January 1, 2021. They also affirmed that each institution will retain the individual institutional autonomy to conduct athletic related activities as they see fit.
The HCAC remains committed to offering engaging athletic experiences for student athletes in all its 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 as the highest priority but help ensure the opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport.
The winter sports of basketball (defined as high contact risk sport by the NCAA) and swimming and diving (classified as a low contact risk sport by the NCAA) will not hold conference competition prior to January 2021.
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. "The women's tennis, women's golf, women's cross country and men's cross country teams had arrived on campus last week and had already begun preseason practices in preparation for competition, so this decision is especially challenging for them, but we know this is the right thing for their health and safety, and our community at this time."