TOWSON, Md. – The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) announced today that its Board of Directors has voted to suspend conference competition in football for the Fall of 2020 due to continuing concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Towson Athletics also suspended the seasons of the other four teams who compete during the fall: field hockey, volleyball, women’s cross country and women’s soccer.
The conference expressed a strong commitment to exploring the possibility of conducting a football season during the Spring of 2021, and will continue to analyze this scenario as more information becomes available and conditions continue to evolve. The football conference features 12 teams, but only five are full members of the CAA. Institutions will have the ability to explore the option of pursuing playing an independent football schedule in the Fall of 2020. Based on the number of institutions in the region that have suspended fall sports, Towson will not be pursuing an independent football schedule.
“I commend the Board of Directors for their forward thinking and open-mindedness when dealing with the uncertain and complex moment that we find ourselves in,” said CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio. “Each of our institutions is making the best decisions for their campus community, based on a totality of the circumstances analysis.”
Last month, the CAA adopted an Extreme Flexibility Model (EFM) scheduling concept for Olympic team sports during the 2020-21 season. The EFM plan is designed to provide institutions with the opportunity to maximize cost savings relative to expenses associated with regular-season travel, while also providing student-athletes and coaches with the safest possible options when traveling to away contests.
“The institutions of the Colonial Athletic Association recognize that we compete in a Conference made up of ten distinctive institutions that are located in eight states,” added D’Antonio. “As we each navigate this pandemic, we recognize that each of our ten members must rely on local and state guidance, as well as medical expertise that may result in different decisions and different timelines for each institution.”
Statement from Towson University Director of Athletics Tim Leonard
“This decision was not made lightly. I know the impact this will have on our student-athletes and the greater Towson community. It is going to be significant. But it became evident to us during weeks, months, of discussions with the other athletic directors both in the CAA as well as in this region that it would be nearly impossible to play a full fall sports season. Therefore, we made to the decision to go ahead and suspend the fall sports season today. We will follow federal, state, and local guidelines as we are moving forward when we make an informed decision regarding the winter and spring sports.”
Towson Athletics FAQ’s
When will a decision be made about winter and spring sports? As the pandemic evolves, Towson Athletics will continue to monitor federal, state, and local guidance, and work closely with CAA leadership and fellow member schools toward an informed decision concerning the winter and spring seasons.
Will teams be able to practice and train? Practices and training can still take place with appropriate guidelines. Towson Athletics plans to implement a phased approach. Prior to the resumption of any athletic activities, student-athletes will be subject to a COVID-19 diagnostic test, a complete physical examination and mental health screening. Each student-athlete will undergo a complete daily symptom check prior to entering athletic facility. Staff-to-student-athlete ratios will be enforced for all activities. Appropriate physical distancing within all facilities will be maintained between student-athletes and staff. Facilities will be altered to adhere to social distancing protocol to locker rooms and other indoor spaces.
Will athletes be permitted to return early to campus? Athletes will return with all other students in preparation for fall classes, which are set to begin on August 24.
Will this use up a year of eligibility for the student-athletes or affect scholarship status? The NCAA will determine decisions on the student-athlete clock. This decision will not affect the scholarship status for student-athletes.