Metro Athletic Conference Cancels Fall Sports Season
Three more New Jersey colleges have canceled their fall sports as the coronavirus pandemic continues, with more decisions about college athletics likely this week.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Council of Presidents vote Monday to cancel fall sports affects Monmouth University in West Long Branch, Rider University in Lawrenceville and Saint Peter's University in Jersey City. The sports affected include cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball, but players will be allowed to train upon their return to campus.
The schools and MAAC said they would consider playing their fall season in the spring within the conference.
The announcement comes as the entire Rutgers University football team, which has been training since June 15, was placed on quarantine after six additional positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed this weekend, for a total of 10 to date.
Gov. Phil Murphy at his coronavirus virus briefing on Monday said that the quarantine "had nothing to do with athletic activity" and it would not change his decision to allow youth sports to move ahead, with precautions. Grade schools and colleges alike are still working on and announcing plans for fall classes, with most incorporating at least some distance learning.
In a statement, Monmouth President Dr. Patrick F. Leahy said canceling fall athletics was not an easy decision and was the topic of many discussions.
"My heart breaks for our student-athletes, their coaches, and their families. We will do everything possible to replace these lost competitive opportunities in the spring, if possible," Leahy said in a statement.
"I feel the pain of disappointment along with every individual who contributes to our programs, particularly our student-athletes. While we must continue to prioritize their health among any other concerns, I want to recognize that the grit, discipline and passion they display on a daily basis will always be worthy of our admiration and our respect. We all look forward to the day when we can see those traits displayed through competition once again," Rider president Gregory G. Dell’Omo said in a statement.
Princeton and the Ivy League had already announced a cancellation of the fall athletic season. The Big 10, of which Rutgers is a member, will play an in-conference schedule but with no fans as outdoor gatherings in New Jersey remain limited to 500.
The College of New Jersey in Ewing already pulled the plug on its fall athletic season. The conference it competes in, the New Jersey Athletic Conference, expects to announce its decision about the fall season on Tuesday. The NJAC includes nearby universities, Stockton, which is located in Galloway and Atlantic City, along with Rowan in Glassboro.
Kean, Montclair, The College of New Jersey, Rutgers-Camden, New Jersey University, Ramapo and William Paterson also compete in the NJAC.
The NJAYF Shore Conference youth football program and cheer season, with members in Sussex, Middlesex, Union, Hunterdon, Monmouth and Ocean counties, was also canceled on Monday.
In a statement it's executive board said participating in a season would come at "the detriment of the children, coaches, and volunteers we are charged with servicing."