LUT WILLIAMS BCSP Editor
The deadly and dangerous COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the HBCU sports world as the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference and Hampton University announced cancellations to their respective athletics programs this week.
Each has announced the go-ahead with in-conference schedules for men’s and women’s basketball beginning, as they usually do, in January. But the non-conference parts of those schedules are still in flux as those are left up to the individual institutions.
Onnidan.com’s Eric Moore compiles composite schedules for both HBCU football and basketball. He said the difficulties navigating protocols for the pandemic has delayed the completion of those non-conference schedules. Here’s what we know currently as we hurtle towards the proposed beginning of the basketball season later this month.
The SIAC announced on its website Tuesday that it will seek to cautiously and prudently move forward with the 2021 winter and spring sports schedule.
The statement said the SIAC will not sponsor championships for football, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year – although individual institutions may, based on unique or special circumstances, participate in intercollegiate competition in those sports.
The SIAC men’s and women’s basketball schedule will begin on January 9 and will feature a 12-14 game conference schedule that will culminate with the SIAC Basketball Championship Tournament featuring all SIAC men and women teams – including recently admitted SIAC member (provisional), Allen University.
The spring 2021 season will feature men’s and women’s tennis, golf, men’s and women’s track and field, softball, and baseball.
At this juncture, fans will not be permitted at any sporting competition taking place on SIAC campuses.
“In light of the fluid and dynamic nature of the current COVID-19 crisis, the SIAC will continue to work closely with its member institutions and continue to monitor and evaluate the health and safety risks, while also reserving the option to make scheduling adjustments should current circumstances change,” said Commissioner Greg Moore.
In addition to announcing the cancellation of football and men’s and women’s cross country earlier, the CIAA announced this week that it will not sponsor championships in indoor track and field and women’s bowling.
“These are tough decisions we have had to make with the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and administrators being at the forefront,” said Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “With institutions not having their own facilities for either sport, adequate health and safety measures could not be guaranteed.”
Each school that sponsors indoor track and field will have the autonomy to schedule competition throughout the season, if desired, to allow teams and student-athletes the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championship meet, should it take place.
The conference continues to proceed with plans for in-conference basketball beginning on Jan. 9. Regular season and championship schedules for both will be provided later.
After consulting with coaches, student-athletes and administrators, the MEAC will not hold its Cross Country Championships for the 2020-21 academic year, as the conference’s other fall sports will be competed in the spring of 2021. Cross Country is the only MEAC sports cancelled so far.
Commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas announced last week following the decision by Bethune-Cookman to opt out of all athletics for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year, that member institutions had until Nov. 16 to opt out of competition before schedules are announced.
The SWAC has not cancelled any of its athletics competition and announced last week in-conference schedules for men’s and women’s basketball. Spring football schedules were released in mid-August.
The league also virtually held its Men’s and Women’s Basketball Media Day on Monday and Tuesday where the predicted order of finishes and pre-season all-SWAC teams were unveiled (see below).
Hampton Director of Athletics Eugene Marshall, Jr. announced Saturday that the Pirates will suspend the spring 2021 competition season in the following sports: Football, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Co-Ed Sailing, Softball, Volleyball, Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Women’s Triathlon and Men’s Lacrosse.
Men’s and Women’s Basketball will play a modified schedule released at a later date. These sports will compete because both are self-contained and compete outside of the campus footprint. No fans will be present for home contests.