The Atlantic 10 conference announced some minor changes to its 2020-21 sports calendar due to ongoing developments from the coronavirus.
Seven sports - field hockey, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse - will see their conference seasons regionalized and condensed by 25%. For volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse, those conference championship fields will be reduced to four teams. Field hockey already had a four-team championship set.
The changes will only affect the upcoming 2020-21 seasons, assuming it is safe to hold collegiate competitions.
The conference hopes that college communities can return to campus upon certain protocols so sports can be held. It is open to make changes as needed and reevaluate if the situation changes.
"The decisions made, including revisions to our conference schedules, championship formats, policies and procedures were extremely difficult. However, each was considered and discussed with empathy, in consideration of the health, welfare and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, support staff and overall athletic programs,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in a release.
"The hope is that there will be a return to campus and classes with the ability to implement the necessary COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester. Should this not occur, the conference is prepared to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate with medical professionals all decisions in the best interests of our student-athletes and programs."
These measures are being made to minimize travel and reduce costs to the schools in an uncertain financial time. The Atlantic 10 is one of the widest mid-major conferences in the country that stretches from Kingston, Rhode Island to Davidson, North Carolina to Saint Louis, Missouri.
A majority of schools are located in the Northeast and are driving distance from one another. Duquense (Pittsburgh), St. Bonaventure (Western New York), Dayton, Davidson and Saint Louis are typically not within driving distances for most schools.
Programs within the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland region consist of George Mason, George Washington, Richmond and VCU.
No changes were announced for the men's and women's basketball seasons, which are the largest sports within the conference. The schedule pairings for those sports will be announced later this week and are expected to be heavily focused on regional matchups.
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