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Nebraska Wesleyan football, volleyball, soccer postponed to Spring

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 11:04 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The American Rivers Conference, which includes Nebraska Wesleyan, has postponed four sports from the fall to the spring semester. Those sports are football, women’s and men’s soccer, and volleyball. The conference intends to go forward with fall competition in women’s and men’s cross country, women’s golf, and women’s tennis.

“We are extremely disappointed that our football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer teams will not compete this fall,” said Darrin Good, Nebraska Wesleyan University President. “Nebraska Wesleyan — along with the other eight American Rivers Conference schools — have worked tirelessly for the past several months to plan and implement the necessary protocols that would create a safe environment for our fall sports’ student-athletes, and we were confident in our protocols.”

The Board of Governors put new mandates in its “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport” plan, the most concerning of which was the requirement to test frequently with short windows for test results in several sports. Prior to last weeks announcement, the NCAA’s member schools had the latitude to use local and state guidelines in their approach to safely practice and competition for the fall.

The NCAA previously referenced the “Resocialization” document as “... intended as a resource for member schools to use in coordination with applicable government and related institutional policies and guidelines.” An article posted on the Nebraska Wesleyan website said, “The NCAA release changed that stance. The decision by the Association’s highest governing body left the A-R-C’s Presidents Council with no options.”

“As a clear indication of the depth of our commitment to our student athletes, it should be noted that we were the very last of 44 NCAA Division III athletic conferences to postpone these fall athletic seasons,” said Good. “We literally invested thousands of hours among the staff at our nine American Rivers Conference schools to create processes and protocols that would have enabled us to conduct fall sports with low risk of COVID-19 transmission.” “Ultimately, the NCAA’s mandates — which were originally offered as guidance — are not tenable for the nine A-R-C schools to implement, particularly the requirement to test frequently with a short window for test results for all of our fall athletes. We recognize the importance and whole-heartedly support and value the student-athlete experience at Nebraska Wesleyan. Athletics is an essential part of our culture and we are fully committed to giving that experience to them in the spring semester.”

The conference said it will now will focus on its plans for movement of the previously mentioned sports to the spring semester along with full conference competition in cross country, women’s golf, and women’s tennis. The discussion of winter sports also will take high priority in the coming weeks. The conference sponsors women’s and men’s basketball, women’s and men’s indoor track and field, and wrestling in the winter.

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