Swarthmore College is suspending its 2020 fall athletic seasons, the administration announced Tuesday.
Hoping to reopen for the fall semester in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the college will allow only first-year students, transfers, sophomores, and resident assistants the option of returning to campus. Everyone else will be enrolled remotely, which impacts athletics.
“Unfortunately, all of the measures we’re putting in place to keep our community members safe — strict physical distancing and masking policies, limits on the number of students returning to campus, severely restricted college travel, etc. — will prohibit our participation in intercollegiate athletic competition for fall sports,” president Valerie Smith said in a statement. “Our coaches are developing meaningful and creative ways to engage with members of their teams during the course of the fall semester.”
While basketball is not a fall sport, the decision will likely impact that program, too. The schedule usually starts late in the first semester; last season, the men’s and women’s teams each played nine games in November and December.
It will be the second consecutive season that the men’s team will face an uncertain short-term future. Seeded No.1 in this year’s NCAA Division III Tournament , the team was in the Sweet 16 with a 28-1 record when the COVID-19 outbreak ended the season.
The college’s decision could lead to a ripple effect in the Centennial Conference. Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Ursinus each have yet to make decisions regarding their fall sports.
“We will continue to work with our Centennial Conference peers on a plan for winter and spring sports and will provide answers related to NCAA eligibility once they are announced,” Smith said.