FAQs - Fall 2020 Athletics, Intramural and Club Sports

How was this decision made?

This decision was not made quickly, and we worked hard to preserve competitive opportunities this fall season, and avoid this outcome. Since the abrupt cessation of athletics last spring, a conference-wide COVID steering committee, as well as working groups made up of NCAC academic leaders, administrators, faculty representatives, health care professionals, legal counsel, and coaches have been planning for our return to play. Conference presidents and governance groups have also met regularly to review and direct the work being done.

Additionally, we have consulted with public health experts and utilized the guidance of national health organizations and national sport governing bodies such as the CDC, the World Health Organization, the American Enterprise Institute, the White House, the American College Health Association, the National Athletic Training Association’s Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine, and the NCAA, in particular the Association’s Core Principles for Resocialization of College Sports. This work resulted in what we considered truly collaborative strategies, best practices, and risk mitigation guidelines, which included the development of a conference testing protocol for the upcoming academic year.

We all wanted to find a way to safely resume competition within the conference and against other schools, if at all possible. Yet, even with all of our plans, we cannot completely control the environment around us. Infection rates of COVID-19 are increasing in many areas at an alarming speed and the risk of community transmission of the virus is too great at this time to allow for a truly safe return to competition this fall. As a result, the NCAC Presidents’ Council determined that we must suspend competition for the remainder of 2020.

What is the NCAA's Core Principles for Resocialization Collegiate Sports?

The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates. You will find full details here. The NCAA is continuing to monitor all information around COVID-19. Please continue to check the website for updates.

What sports does this decision cover?

The sports covered are men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball; Men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track & field.

What will it be like to participate on a team this fall semester?

After considering all of the health and safety factors involved with competition, the NCAC has suspended traditional intercollegiate competition for our teams this fall semester. Individual return-to-play protocols will be in place at each member institution to allow for an athletic experience without traditional competition within the parameters of federal, state, institutional, conference, and NCAA guidance. In the meantime, we plan for teams to be able to practice and gather this fall under the supervision of their coaches, as long as they comply with all safety standards in place across their respective campuses.

The conference continues to plan ways to create positive interactions for our student-athletes, coaches, and staffs with programming, leadership and professional development opportunities, and possible remote competitive opportunities.

Though the season will look different from any other, we will partner with our campus and conference student-athlete advisory committees and our coaches to explore ways for our student-athletes to engage in their passion.

Will this decision affect spring sports in their nontraditional season?

Decisions around nontraditional practices remain institutional, however, teams in the nontraditional season will not compete in the fall semester.

Will winter teams be able to participate in practices in the fall?

There may be opportunities for winter sports teams to gather and practice, according to their usual practice schedules as defined by current NCAA legislation. However, teams will not compete in the fall semester.

When will decisions be made about winter and spring sports competition?

The NCAC statement specifically applies to any competition during the fall semester. Decisions about winter and/or spring sport competitions will be made at a later date and probably well into the fall semester.

Any competition would not occur until January 1 and will likely be prefaced by a period of resocialization and acclimatization. We will monitor public health guidance and continue our work with local, state and federal health authorities, as well as the NCAA and other national medical and sports organizations.

Will there be an opportunity for fall sports to have a competitive season in the spring?

The NCAC remains committed as a conference and as individual institutions to building an academic and athletic experience for our student-athletes that is as safe and robust as possible.

Even though we continue to diligently work with the NCAA and our partner conferences in the region and across the country to find ways to conduct competition in the spring semester, it is important to keep in mind current realities as well, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Current NCAA legislation does not permit fall sports to compete in the spring. The NCAC is working very hard to make this opportunity possible this coming year.
  2. If current public health conditions continue or worsen throughout the upcoming months, the opportunities for competition will remain as they are for this fall.
  3. If public health conditions improve to permit more robust competition in the spring semester, it will be important to keep in mind resources such as staffing, court/field space, availability of lighting, and weather, as we try to maximize opportunities for additional sports over the course of one semester.

Will practicing affect my NCAA eligibility?

No. For Division III student-athletes, participation in workouts, meetings, or practices in their usual season during the fall semester will not trigger the use of a season of participation.

Additionally, the NCAA recently issued a blanket waiver that states that Division III student-athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50 percent or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA also issued a blanket statement stating that a student-athlete will receive a two semester extension of eligibility (towards their 10-semester total) if they are unable to participate due to COVID-19 or if their team completes 50% of less of that sport's maximum contests/dates of competition. Visit the NCAA website for the full announcement.

Will Club sports be offered?

We will be suspending all club sports competition through December 31, 2020. All club sport activities must be approved by the club’s advisor in conjunction with the student activities office.

Will intramural sports be offered this year?

Intramural programming for 2020-21 will be designed to meet the health and safety standards outlined by the college. More specific details will be provided at a later date.

Will the Scot Center and outdoor facilities be open?

The Scot Center and adjacent outdoor facilities will be open with designated hours to be published at a later date. Masks will be required to be worn throughout the Scot Center. Extra safety protocols to come.

Will student-athletes be able to access athletic training services?

The Athletic Trainers will be taking the necessary precautions for risk mitigation including increased cleaning, distancing when possible, and masking. Due to space and population density considerations, training room policies are currently being revised.

Will student-athletes need a pre-participation physical exam (sports physical)?

Yes, physicals are still required due to the possibility of organized team activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty surrounding it, all varsity student-athletes at The College of Wooster are asked to complete their pre-participation medical exam prior to arriving on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please use the form found here. You will complete the first page and your doctor will complete the second page. Once the exam is completed, please send a completed and signed copy to sportsmedicine@wooster.edu, or fax a copy to 330-263-2662. The sports medicine staff asks that you send the completed exam form as soon as possible and PRIOR to arriving on campus. This will allow the sports medicine staff the opportunity to review the exam and ensure you are safe to participate or if follow-up is needed. This is a requirement to participate in varsity athletics at The College of Wooster, so please do not wait until the last minute. If for some reason you are unable to complete this prior to arriving on campus, please email sportsmedicine@wooster.edu, and they will work with you to find a solution.

Can new students defer enrollment? Current students take a leave of absence?

New students should work with Admissions – admissions@wooster.edu (international students should work with Reon Sines-Sheaff – rsines-sheaff@wooster.edu) to discuss options for deferring enrollment. Returning students should contact the Dean of Students Office at dos@wooster.edu to file a formal leave of absence.

If a senior student-athlete does not use all eligibility and graduates from Wooster, can the student-athlete use the remaining eligibility in graduate school or a post-baccalaureate program?

Any student-athlete who does not complete their four years of participation while enrolled at Wooster would be permitted the opportunity to use remaining years of participation while enrolled in a graduate school or a post-baccalaureate program. Those interested in doing so would need to work with the compliance officer.