On Wednesday, August 26, in accordance with recommendations and risk assessments from the NCAA, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) announced their decision to shut down all athletic competitions for the fall semester.
Previously, the low-contact sports of men’s and women’s tennis, cross country and golf were given the green light to compete, while high-contact sports, such as men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball and football, were postponed until the spring season. Now, even low-contact sports are joining the lineup of postponed seasons.
With this recent adjustment, the only sport remaining on AU’s fall schedule is the new esports program since it does not fall under the umbrella of HCAC.
As men’s golf coach Jacob Gray explained, his new and returning athletes were looking forward to this fall season even with its uncertainty and challenges.
“I’m disappointed in their decision to postpone sports this season, but I understand,” said Gray. “We’ll start practice in mid-September and follow the guidelines we need to maintain the safety of all involved.”
Gray explained that he hopes to be able to hold practices with his team so they will be prepared for the spring.
“As long as we’re allowed to practice, we’ll work on what we need for the spring season,” said Gray. “It’ll be good for our incoming golfers to get to know one another and also to get familiar with Anderson Country Club. Although we won’t have any competitions this fall It’s still important for us to practice as much as we can to get prepared for the spring season.”
Matthew Moore, head men’s and women’s tennis coach, explained that he recognizes the need for this difficult decision, and he understands that it was made with his athletes’ best interests in mind.
“Both our men’s and women’s tennis programs respect the decision of conference and university officials,” said Moore. “We recognize the safety concerns and the desire to protect our student-athletes and larger campus community.”
Similar to Gray, Moore looks forward to practicing and improving with his team throughout their new off-season.
“We are blessed to have the opportunity to continue practicing and growing as a team,” said Moore. “We will approach these allowed activities with positivity and humbleness. We will also use this time to prepare to the highest degree possible for spring competitions.”
Moore knows this decision will disappoint his team, but he is confident that they will adapt to this change to the best of their abilities.
“While this was a heartbreak to our players, resiliency will ultimately prevail,” said Moore.