UMaine postpones fall sports with hopes of making up seasons in spring, America East and CAA cancel fall schedules
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - UMaine field hockey, soccer and cross country saw their America East conference cancel fall sports schedules due to the Coronavirus. UMaine football’s conference, the Colonial Athletic Association, cancelled its schedule officially as well. The school made its own announcement, on Friday, postponing fall sports in hopes of making up seasons in the spring.
“We made the difficult decision to postpone athletic competitions at the varsity level for the University of Maine for the fall 2020 season,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
“This is not a cancellation. We are actively seeking opportunities to ship the season to a non-traditional format,” says UMaine director of Athletics Ken Ralph, “More accurate and more rapidly developing tests would certainly help, or a vaccine or treatment.”
State to state travel protocols, and exposure concerns, also played a large role in the decision to postpone.
“I want to be playing fall sports. But, you know what, we did what we believe is in the best interest of the University of Maine,” says Ralph, “And I feel good about where it ended up.”
The athletic department held a Zoom Meeting with staff, coaches and athletes, letting them know about the decision. Their scholarships will be honored.
“When you consider all of the logistical challenges associated with keeping our athletes and students and staff and community safe,” says UMaine head soccer coach Scott Atherley, “realistically, I don’t think there was an alternative decision. I think the right decision was made.”
The hope for the fall sports is to make up competitions in the spring.
“I think primarily we would be looking at a conference only opportunity,” says Ralph, “in the spring.”
“Whether it’s a conference schedule or whether it’s a regional schedule at some point, We typically try to play some spring games,” says UMaine field hockey head coach Josette Babineau, “So, if it was something more organized, obviously any games we could get in this year would be a good thing.”
UMaine football had the opportunity to play an independent schedule. Conference foes Elon and James Madison hope to. But, they will try for a spring slate of games instead.
“The guys are certainly upset. I don’t think anybody is shocked I would say. I think the timing of it is definitely, and the reality, is certainly tough for our guys,” says UMaine head football coach Nick Charlton, “and that goes for our coaches, too. It is what a lot of People put their lives into. It is difficult to deal with decisions like this but at the end of the day you know our guys are going to move forward and they are all going to overcome this.”
The postponements mean the loss of FBS games, which provide major revenue, for UMaine football.
“Yes, we will have a loss of revenue for not participating,” says Ralph, “We are also going to see a significant savings on the expense side of the ledger.”
The athletic budget will be impacted.
“It’s a changed world,” says Ferrini-Mundy, “We are looking at our budgets and planning very differently. Of course Athletics will be a factor in that.”
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