In a press release today, the Empire 8 Athletic Conference Presidents Council announced the postponement of all fall athletic competition for the 2020 season due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was unanimous among the presidents of all Empire 8 member colleges and universities. The Empire 8 is also issuing its own announcement.

As a member of the Empire 8, Hartwick College affected teams include men’s football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s field hockey, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.

“After careful consideration, I voted with my Empire 8 presidential colleagues to postpone our fall athletics season,” said Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich, a member of the Council. “This decision followed a robust discussion and thorough consideration of current New York State guidelines and evolving recommendations from the NCAA. As the health and welfare of our community remains our priority, this is the best decision. Nonetheless, it was a difficult decision to make. Athletics is important to our community – both for the student-athletes who compete and all of us who cheer them on.”

Director of Athletics John Czarnecki shared the outcome with the head coaches of fall teams this afternoon, each of whom have contacted their respective teams of both returning and new student athletes.

A spring season in lieu of the postponed fall schedule is under consideration by the conference, although no decision has been made. Per NCAA Division III rules, Hartwick’s affected student-athletes will not be counted as having participated in the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the postponement.

The Empire 8 Presidents Council has not made a decision regarding winter sports, which at Hartwick include men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field. Spring sports have not yet been discussed at the conference level.

One-third of Hartwick students play on one of the College’s 19 Division III varsity sports teams.

More From WZOZ