The presidents of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) released a statement on March 9 announcing that they have agreed to hold a limited schedule of conference competition for spring sports. Following the letter, which stated that it is up to each school to determine whether or not to participate, Wesleyan athletics announced plans to go forward with the season.
The University plans to allow all spring sports to compete, including men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, baseball, men’s and women’s rowing, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. Conference play can only occur as long as a minimum of six schools elect to participate. As of March 10, every college that participates in the NESCAC conference has elected to allow for spring sports competition, meaning that the six-school limit has been surpassed.
According to the statement, competition will begin in April. There will be fewer competitions, and there will be more stringent protocol than what is currently recommended by the NCAA. No spectators will be allowed.
Bowdoin College has specified that they will only compete against other Maine colleges that follow the same testing protocols. A few colleges, such as Bowdoin, have also allowed their fall and winter athletes to participate in limited competition with other schools. If Wesleyan follows Bowdoin’s lead and elects to compete against only NESCAC institutions in Connecticut, Trinity College and Connecticut College will be the schools included in the athletics competition schedule.
This decision comes less than two months after a letter from NESCAC presidents from Jan. 27 of this year, in which they noted that the high number of COVID-19 cases would make it difficult for a spring competition.
“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,” the Jan. 27 letter reads. “After a careful review, the NESCAC presidents have agreed that conditions will need to improve significantly in order to conduct conference competition this spring.”
On Jan. 27, the state of Connecticut had a positivity rate of 4.4% and a total of 247,339 positive or probable cases. On March 10, the day the statement was released, the positivity rate was 3.07% and a total of 288,657 positive or probable cases. An important note is the change in daily new cases. Back in January, the change from the day before was 2,440. The change from March 9 to March 10 was 512 new cases. There are more cases, but the average daily new positive cases has fallen dramatically.
Caroline Bonnevie can be reached at email@example.com.