USM Cancels Fall Sports for 2020
University of Southern Maine Athletic Director Al Bean joined The Morning Line to discuss the decision announced by the school Wednesday which cancelled all fall sports for the coming season, that will extend through the semester and will likely impact winter sports as well.
You can listen to our interview here.
The release from the school is below.
After careful consideration of health and safety risks to our student-athletes and staff, the USM Department of Athletics has decided to cancel its fall 2020 competition schedule for varsity sports. This difficult decision has been made with the full support of President Cummings and the University's senior leadership team.
The decision also follows USM Athletics' months-long work and consultation with the University's Fall Planning Task Force, Student Health Services, the Huskies' Medical Team, the Athletics Action Team, University Council, UMaine System administrators, and the leadership and members of the Little East Conference and the New England Hockey Conference. During this time, we considered myriad scenarios in hopes that a path forward could be possible; however, the risks associated with long-distance travel on buses and vans to Little East Conference destinations, as well as the complexities tied to competition itself presented too much. Ultimately, we do not believe we can adhere to health and safety guidance for our student-athletes and coaching staff in these conditions. As difficult as it is to forgo the camaraderie and competition that our student-athletes have eagerly anticipated this fall, we need to do the right thing and step back for now.
Reaching this decision and fully acknowledging the risks of competition during the pandemic have been gut-wrenching to say the least. We know that participation in intercollegiate athletics is a critical component of the educational experience for our student-athletes and our entire campus community. However, we care very deeply for our student-athletes and staff and must continue to make the overall health and safety of everyone involved with USM Athletics our top priority.
To date, many colleges, universities and athletic conferences have declared their intention to cancel fall semester athletics, and it's likely that others will follow soon. As a result, the number of possible opponents in close proximity to USM has been significantly diminished. Eliminating outside competition (for now) does not prevent us from offering our student-athletes carefully planned and closely monitored practice sessions. Our student-athletes will have opportunities to regularly engage with USM Athletics through skill-development and strength-training sessions as well as academic support and career development programming designed to help all Huskies reach their full potential.
We will continue to monitor the pandemic and health conditions closely and communicate with the NCAA, our conference organizations and local opponents to see what may be possible for our teams and student-athletes in the new year. We will also take steps to maintain seasons of eligibility for all our student-athletes in keeping with NCAA policies. We expect to receive regular communication from our conference organizations and will update the USM community and our student-athletes as new information becomes available.
This is a heartbreaking decision to make but one that the coaches, staff and I believe is the right one for USM given the circumstances. We have been in touch with our student-athletes to process their shared disappointment and begin to find their way forward. Our student-athletes are capable of dealing with great adversity and bearing heavy loads in challenging conditions —especially when they pull together. Our goal is to remain Husky Strong through this unprecedented setback and to resume intercollegiate competition as soon as it is safe to do so.
Al Bean '77, '92
USM Director of Athletics