BREAKING: GAC to Suspend all Sports Competition through December 31

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Following a Friday evening meeting of the Great American Conference’s Council of Presidents, the league will suspend all fall and winter sports – basketball, cross country, football, soccer and volleyball – and the two-semester sports of golf and tennis through December 31.
 
The Council made its recommendation in response to last week’s directive from the NCAA Board of Governors regarding additional requirements as well the cancellation of 2020 NCAA Division II Fall Championships.
 
“I truly believe that our University had protocols in place that would have allowed for safe competition this fall.  It is heartbreaking for me at this time because I know how committed our coaches, medical staff, athletic staff, and student-athletes were to making that happen,” remarked SAU Director of Athletics Steve Browning.
 
“The directives from the NCAA Board of Governors have simply put us in situation where it is not possible for us to participate in collegiate competition this fall.  Our focus will now be to turn to how we can navigate through the NCAA directives to ensure that we provide our student-athletes and coaches with meaningful engagement opportunities this fall as we prepare for the most historic spring semester in the history of Mulerider Athletics.”
 
“We are disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches, and communities,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. “Our membership’s presidents and athletic administrators did not arrive at this difficult decision lightly. Our hopes and work to date have been to proceed with fall competition following federal and state health guidance. However, recent decisions by the NCAA Board of Governors make this possibility unrealistic. We now turn our focus as a conference on how to best support our student-athletes during this challenging time and craft options that will allow them to experience meaningful and safe competition during spring 2021.”
 
All NCAA athletically related activities (in all GAC sports), including in-season practices, out-of-season practices, weight training, team athletically related meetings, and voluntary workouts led by staff or in institutional facilities shall be permitted this fall based on each institution’s ability to comply with the recent NCAA Board of Governors directive.
 
The suspension of our fall and winter sports through December 31 is a heartbreak for all of us,” said Harding President and GAC Council of Presidents Chairman Dr. Bruce McLarty. “Our athletes and college athletics are important to every GAC campus. The presidents are continuing our work to ensure that our student-athletes have a great college experience this year, in spite of the challenges we are facing.
 
The GAC will continue to evaluate NCAA, federal, state, and local developments and will provide updated revisions as further information becomes available. The league will announce revised schedules at a later date.

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