The figuratively falling dominoes of college athletics landed flat at at Presbyterian College on Wednesday as officials announced, in conjunction with the Big South Conference, that fall sports have been suspended.
Most crucially, this means the Blue Hose will play no football this fall. Ever since opponents canceled six of the 11 scheduled games, the shots have been long and the prospects dire.
PC football, as fate fell, entered this one season as an independent, trapped in the purgatory between the Big South, which it departed after the 2019 season, and the Pioneer Football League, which it joins in 2021.
The Big South, where PC resides in most sports by virtue of athletics scholarships that still exist, announced it is delaying fall sports seasons with the intent of playing in the spring. Fall sports at PC affected by the conference's decision include men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, and volleyball. Additionally, fall competitions in the sports of football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, and out-of-season competitions in spring sports have been suspended as well.
The Big South Conference’s press release cited “the health and well-being of its student-athletes is its top priority.”
"We are all broken-hearted that we will not be able to provide competitive opportunities for Big South student-athletes this fall," Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said. "However, the path forward must protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, and some of the current trends and unknowns with COVID-19 have made that a huge challenge. Our intention is to shift these fall seasons to the spring as we would like nothing more than to crown Big South champions in all 19 of our sports this year, if possible."
At PC, the opportunity for conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted, provided health and safety conditions support such activities. Conditions include adherence to departmental return-to-play protocols.
"The collegiate athletics experience at Presbyterian is very important to fulfilling the college's educational and developmental missions," said Rob Acunto, PC's Director of Athletics. "Any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to PC student-athletes, coaches, and fans. However, health and safety remain the highest priority, and because of that, the decision has been made to suspend fall-season competition."
PC Athletics is committed to exploring options that may provide future competitive experiences for fall sport student-athletes. The athletics department recognizes those options will be based on steps that may eventually be taken by the NCAA and the conference membership.