Given the current public health situation, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which is made up of 11 institutions including Wesleyan, is postponing intercollegiate competition for the 2021 spring semester.
After much discussion, the presidents of NESCAC schools released an announcement on Jan. 27 stating: “As member institutions prepare for the spring semester, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and communities remain our foremost concerns. Although COVID case numbers have started to decline, nationally and in our region, the numbers remain far higher than they were at the start of the fall semester. After a careful review, the NESCAC presidents have agreed that conditions will need to improve significantly in order to conduct conference competition this spring.”
As a result of adjustments to the NESCAC schools’ 2020–21 academic calendars, students are returning to campuses at different times, ranging from late January to late February. If the situation improves and conference competition proves feasible, regular-season conference play would likely not start until late March or early April, and would necessarily be limited in scope and duration.
As in the fall, all member institutions plan to limit travel off-campus, restrict visitors, maintain strict protocols on physical distancing, and implement a robust COVID-19 testing program. NESCAC school presidents will continue to monitor the progress of the pandemic, as well as changes in federal, state, and local guidelines on public health and athletic competition.
“The NESCAC decision will come as a disappointment to many who have worked long and hard for the chance to compete, and I understand their frustration,” Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 wrote in a campus-wide email. “Like so many Wesleyans, I would love to watch our athletes compete, as I would be delighted to see our musicians play and our actors perform. We all will have to wait until it is safe enough to do so.”
The presidents will make a final decision in late February or early March.