RPI, Union cancel Division III winter sports seasons – Times Union

With coronavirus cases rising again across the nation, RPI and Union on Monday canceled their Division III winter sports seasons, which include basketball, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving.
The decision doesn’t include their Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs. The status of their seasons is still undetermined.
RPI and Union belong to the Division III Liberty League, which Monday voted to cancel all its winter league games and championships, just as they did with fall sports.
“For the past couple of weeks, we’ve had a significant uptick across the country, not as significant as the rest of the country, but our students are from all over the country and all over the world,” RPI athletic director Lee McElroy said. “That obviously factored into it.”
Skidmore also competes in the Liberty League. Athletics spokesman Bill Jones said though the school won’t play league games this winter, the Thoroughbreds will try to find in-state games against nonleague opponents, if possible, after athletes return from break in January.
McElroy said COVID-19 testing protocol also made it difficult to have a winter season.
“You’ve been reading the NCAA resocialization (plan), when they came out with basketball, they recommended testing three times a week and also testing the day before competition, et cetera,” McElroy said. “So for all the different protocols and practices and recommendations, the presidents made a decision based on the information they had before them.”
McElroy notified RPI’s staff and the athletes on a conference call.
“It’s extremely disappointing, but we’re all in this together,” he said. “I use the term ‘navigate the pandemic,’ and we have to collaborate to reduce risk and also promote the health and wellness of the community.”
McElroy said ECAC Hockey athletic directors and the Ivy League presidents each have meetings Tuesday to discuss the future of the hockey season. The Ivy League has six institutions that compete in ECAC Hockey.
While RPI’s athletic workouts remain on pause because of COVID-19, Union’s winter teams have been working out with their coaches this fall in small group activity with strict safety guidelines in place.
Union said its teams will continue working with their coaches after athletes return from break “to provide an engaging on-campus experience.”
“As we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise both in the region and across the country, this was a very unfortunate and difficult decision we had to make,” Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said in a news release of his Division III winter teams. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire community continues to remain our top priority as we look to maintain the positive steps our community has taken so far this year.”
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Mark Singelais covers Siena basketball, UAlbany lacrosse, horse racing and other sports. Contact him at 518-454-5509 or [email protected]


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