‘Risks are far too great’ as MASCAC makes decision to cancel 2020-21 hockey season

The NCAA has released winter sport guidelines and the state of Massachusetts recently updated their winter sport policies.

After an in-depth review of the information from the state and NCAA, consultation among the MASCAC presidents, athletic directors, and athletic trainers and after exhausting all possibilities, including a review of the risks involved, the eight MASCAC presidents made the “difficult decision” Friday to cancel all winter sports competition, according to a news release.

This includes men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey and men’s and women’s indoor track and field.

“We explored countless scenarios to find a safe path forward with the evolving recommendations and policies from the NCAA and the state for our winter sport student-athletes,” said MASCAC commissioner Angela Baumann in a statement. “After consultation with our medical staff and athletic directors, the MASCAC presidents came to the conclusion there is not a way to ensure the safety of our student-athletes and staff with off campus winter competition. The risks are far too great.”

Similar to the fall sports, the state universities are planning to provide winter sport student-athletes with on-campus, in-person practices, conditioning and training opportunities throughout their traditional season to support their physical and mental well-being. These practice and training opportunities will not use a year of NCAA eligibility and will be done in compliance with the campus, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols.

“The MASCAC presidents have been continuously observing the pandemic and guidelines from local, state, federal and NCAA officials which has led us to the decision to cancel winter sports competition during the spring semester,” said Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts president James Birge, chair of the MASCAC Council of Presidents.

Affiliates will be able to schedule non-conference contests at their discretion.

MASCAC Council of Presidents
President James F. Birge, Council of Presidents Chair
President Fred Clark, Bridgewater State University
President Richard S. Lapidus, Fitchburg State University
President F. Javier Cevallos, Framingham State University
Admiral Francis X. McDonald, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
President John D. Keenan, Salem State University
Interim President Roy H. Saigo, Westfield State University
President Barry Maloney, Worcester State University
Angela Baumann, MASCAC Commissioner