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Swarthmore College suspends fall athletics due to COVID-19

Philadelphia Inquirer logo Philadelphia Inquirer 7/1/2020 By Damichael Cole, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Swarthmore College announced Tuesday that its suspending its 2020 fall athletic seasons.

Hoping to continue on with the fall semestein the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the university is only allowing first-year students, incoming transfers, sophomores and resident assistants the option to return to campus. Everyone else will be enrolled remotely, which impacts athletics.

“Unfortunately, all of the measures we’re putting in place to keep our community members safe — strict physical distancing and masking policies, limits on the number of students returning to campus, severely restricted college travel, etc. — will prohibit our participation in intercollegiate athletic competition for fall sports,” president Valerie Smith said in a statement. “Our coaches are developing meaningful and creative ways to engage with members of their teams during the course of the fall semester.”

While it’s not a fall sport, the decision will likely impact Swarthmore College’s basketball program, too. The schedule usually starts late in the first semester, with last season seeing nine games played within the academic year’s first quarter.

It’ll be the second consecutive season where Swarthmore College will face an uncertain short-term future. After earning NCAA D-III’s No.1 overall seed with a 28-1 record, the COVID-19 outbreak canceled Swarthmore College’s 2019-20 season right when it reached the Sweet 16.

The school’s decision could lead to a ripple effect in the Centennial Conference. Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Ursinus each have yet to make decisions regarding their fall sports.

“We will continue to work with our Centennial Conference peers on a plan for winter and spring sports and will provide answers related to NCAA eligibility once they are announced,” Swarthmore College’s statement said.

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