As we prepare for the upcoming fall semester, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) has been reviewing guidance from the NCAA and its impact on intercollegiate athletic fall seasons. You will find outlined in this press release modifications being implemented to ensure competition opportunities for our fall sport student-athletes. Foremost among considerations is the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, officials and support staff.
Each member institution has worked diligently to create appropriate mitigation strategies for safely conducting athletic activities this fall. Last week the NCAA released its safety guidelines as well. Among the recommendations released by the NCAA is a testing regimen for fall sports defined as “high risk” (football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball) that presents insurmountable challenges at the present time. Between availability and cost of surveillance and pre-competition tests in the volume and at the frequency recommended by the NCAA, it is virtually impossible for HCAC schools to meet these guidelines.
The modifications subsequently adopted by the HCAC are intended to provide an expanded schedule of fall athletic activities for fall sports, in the absence of intercollegiate competition, in order to preserve the competitive opportunities for the spring season. The strategy is based on the expectation that more readily available, lower-cost and more easily administered tests will enable compliance with the NCAA medical guidance for competition of traditional fall sports in the spring.
The HCAC President’s Council unanimously approved this plan in recognition of the important role athletics plays in the college experience of many of our students. I am pleased that a creative alternative has been developed to allow our student-athletes to compete safely. The pandemic has certainly created many challenges for all of us but, with each passing day, we are also learning how to adapt intelligently in many different aspects of our lives. This is another example of that very resilience and consistent focus on health and safety. Thank you.
Kerry N. Prather | President
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