ERIE, Pa. – After a meeting of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Board of Directors on Tuesday, the league announced the cancellation of its mandated conference schedule and championships for winter sports season.
(Photo: Former Warren girls basketball star and current Gannon sophomore Margo Loutzenhiser. Photo courtesy Gannon Sports Information.)
Despite this announcement, Mercyhurst Unive
“We feel strongly that our student-athletes have earned the opportunity to compete through their hard work and diligence,” said Director of Athletics Brad Davis. “We want to provide them with those opportunities and do so safely. We will continue to follow the NCAA Testing Protocols and will build our schedules with other institutions that will also meet the NCAA guidelines.”
Last week, the PSAC Board agreed to proceed with the intent to play a full regular season and championship season for spring sports in 2021 while cancelling championship opportunities for fall sports in the spring of 2021.
“We respect the difficult decisions made by the PSAC Board of Directors,” Davis continued. “But we feel that we can safely provide opportunities for our student-athletes. On behalf of our student-athletes, I am thankful for the support of our administration.”
Members of the PSAC will declare their intentions to play fall or winter sports to the league office by Wednesday Nov. 18 at which time the conference office will review and see whether there is support of a championship season in any of these sports. If six or more institutions opt-in the conference will sponsor a championship season.
Mercyhurst student-athletes have practices all fall semester under the University’s five-phase approach for a safe return-to-play. All winter athletes continue to be tested under the NCAA’s guidelines.
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Gannon University and PSAC Announce Athletic Winter Seasons Update
ERIE, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) has announced it will cancel all conference mandated regular-season and championship athletic events for winter sports. However, the conference will reinstate a championship season for any sport that has six or more member institutions commit to participating. The winter sports decision was finalized after a majority vote by the PSAC Board of Directors which consists of the 18 member institutions’ presidents.
Last week, the Board canceled PSAC Championship seasons in fall sports with the same ability to opt-in and agreed to proceed with the intent to play a full regular and championship season for all spring sports in 2021.
Member institutions wishing to compete in fall and winter sport championship seasons will declare their intent to the conference office by the end of the workday Wednesday, November 18. The PSAC office will review all notifications and make an announcement as soon as possible as to whether there is support to continue with a championship season in any of the league’s fall and winter sports.
Despite recent PSAC announcements, Gannon University reinforced its intent to facilitate seasons for its fall and winter athletic teams if conditions and the availability of willing PSAC institutions and non-conference contests are conducive to play.
Gannon student-athletes have practiced and conditioned throughout the fall semester under University guidelines created for a safe return to play, including a rigid COVID-19 testing protocol. The women’s and men’s golf teams competed in six combined events during the fall. Gannon’s winter athletic teams are currently practicing during the championship segment of their season while the fall and spring teams had the ability to conduct non-championship segments during the fall semester.
Gannon administrators created protocols last summer for the safe resumption of athletics. The University began classes on August 10 and is scheduled to conclude finals next week. The return to play plan included:
- COVID-19 testing
- Daily health screenings
- Smaller “pod” systems for athletics activities
- Virtual team meetings when applicable
- Reduced room capacity and social distancing procedures when in-person meetings are needed
- Office meetings by appointment only with a maximum of two people with masks and social distancing
- Isolation and contact tracing procedures if someone tested positive
- Increased cleaning and sanitation of athletic facilities, vans and buses
- Traffic flow patterns for athletic facilities
- PPE equipment for athletic training personnel and athletic personnel
- Additional hand sanitizer throughout athletic facilities and on sidelines
- Individual items for student-athletes such as face coverings and water bottles
- Laundry service for athletic-related clothing
- Reduced capacity in the athletic training room, aided by an online system for appointments
- Social distancing at practice where applicable
- Masks being worn at all times where applicable
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) still plans to conduct national championship tournaments for winter and spring championships.
Current NCAA legislation allows all fall and winter student-athletes to regain their season of competition in 2020-21. Gannon students participating in those sports will not be charged with a season of eligibility regardless of how many contests they compete in.
Further updates regarding possible fall and winter schedules, as well as complete spring schedules, will be announced at a later date at gannonsports.com. Be sure to follow Gannon Athletics updates via Twitter (@GUKnights), Facebook (@gannonsports) and Instagram (@gannongoldenknights).