The Southern Conference and Furman Follow Suit
COVID-19 has its own plans for the fall athletic seasons and plenty of college conferences have taken notice. After an assortment of schools delayed and postponed their fall seasons, the Southern Conference decided on a similar course of action, announcing the postponement of fall conference sports on August 13, with the hopes of rescheduling seasons in the coming spring.
In a statement released by the conference, the following sports have been postponed: football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s volleyball. Golf, tennis, lacrosse and softball typically hold conference championships in the spring or winter, so there has been no official word on the fate of those sports. Consequently, the Southern Conference is deferring to individual institutions as to how they want to handle these sports and fall competitions.
In a statement released on the conference’s website, Southern Conference Commissioner Jim Schaus said: “This decision was made with extensive evaluation and conversation. Ultimately, we felt it necessary to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff. This decision was also supported by the conference’s medical advisory committee.”
The Southern Conference’s decision to postpone and delay the fall seasons comes after many conferences around the country have also taken action to delay fall sports competitions. Conferences have continued to fall in line, putting the safety of athletes and fans first. Conferences such as the Big East, Pac-12, Big Ten, MAC, and Mountain West have all cancelled fall seasons.
Only one possible option remains for the fall: non-conference games and competitions. The Southern Conference is allowing member institutions to hold non-conference competitions on their own terms. Furman has elected not to participate in non-conference competition this fall according to officials.
Athletic Director Jason Donnelly said in a press release: “While we are disappointed that we will not be able to compete as a conference, we respect the league's decision and will thoroughly evaluate all of our options moving forward. We look forward to the Paladins representing Furman at our next possible opportunity.” Furman University has been a member of the Southern Conference since 1936.