Ithaca College will be deciding its athletics schedule after the Liberty League announced that fall athletic competitions will begin no earlier than Sept. 26.
The announcement was made in a statement July 7 after the league’s Presidents Council decided on a plan to resume athletics this upcoming fall. In response to the Liberty League’s statement, the college announced that the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics leadership team will meet with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council on July 8 to consider its plans to return to campus and begin athletics again. The college has not made any announcements about when its fall athletic teams will begin practicing and competing.
Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics, said in the college’s response that it has developed a plan that is focused on the health of students.
“Together with Liberty League presidents, vice presidents and directors of athletics, Ithaca College has collaborated to create a path forward for athletics competition within the framework of the league,” Bassett said in the statement. “It has been an intensive process guided by our central focus on student well-being and experience within an incredibly complex set of parameters. … There is more work to do from here as each institution continues to make decisions regarding engagement in athletics competition.”
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced June 30 that it will not hold a fall sports season because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the only Liberty League member to do so thus far.
This announcement comes after an NCAA Division III decision to allow member institutions to begin fall sports practices Aug. 10. According to Liberty League’s plan, members will not be eligible to compete in the conference until every team completes the opening two phases of the NCAA’s Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport.
The plan also states that the league will follow all state and local guidelines regarding athletic competition. In the conference’s statement, Liberty League Commissioner Tracy King said the council realizes that member institutions are making plans to reopen based on what is best for their campuses and that these plans will vary for every institution.
“We recognize the autonomy of our institutions to make decisions that are in the best interests of their campus communities,” King said in the statement. “We respect and support those decisions and understand that circumstances may vary from school to school. While we continue planning for a return to athletic competition, our focus will remain on prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes and campuses.”
The plan allows member institutions the opportunity to compete mostly within the conference and limits members to two nonleague competitions for team sports. Members will be required to confirm prior to competition that nonleague competitors’ guidelines for health and safety are similar to the Liberty League’s. Teams with individual sports will hold smaller events in which there will be fewer competitors compared to normal event standards. The council will announce its decision on allowing spectators by Sept. 1.