After extensive deliberations, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Presidents Council has voted to postpone conference competition and championships for fall and winter sports through the end of the 2020 calendar year (December 31). The ODAC remains focused on providing meaningful competition for all student-athletes in 2020-21, which includes an intention to sponsor conference competition for fall and winter sports in the spring semester.
Hollins University is a member of the ODAC, along with Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Guilford College, Hampden-Sydney College, University of Lynchburg, Randolph-Macon College, Randolph College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Washington & Lee University.
“The ODAC is one of the nation’s premiere Division III athletic conferences precisely because of our long-standing commitment to the student-athlete experience at all of our institutions,” said Bridgewater College President David Bushman, chair of the ODAC Presidents Council. “In light of the broader public health concerns surrounding athletic competitions, the well-being of our campuses, and everyone involved in athletic competition made this decision the right one. We have great athletic department leadership across the conference and a superb conference staff and we are all committed to hosting meaningful competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
To help the ODAC and its member schools provide their student-athletes with the most complete athletic experience possible, NCAA Division III is considering a blanket waiver that would provide unprecedented scheduling flexibility. The scheduling change would provide all conference sports more time for individual and team skill instruction, strength and conditioning, leadership development, and other athletically-related activities during the academic year as health and safety conditions allow.
“The conference’s leadership worked extremely hard to explore ways we might have conducted conference championships and competition in the fall,” explained ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “Those conversations involved a number of options, but none of them could change the current impact of the virus and its prevalence in our society. A safe return for students and the sustainability of campus life is a priority for all our members. The combination of fall, winter, and spring sports in the second semester is challenging, but the ODAC is committed to providing all student-athletes with a meaningful conference regular season and championship experience in a safe manner.”
The conference will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics. The ODAC leadership will communicate further developments regarding competition in 2020-21 as solutions are finalized and implemented.
The ODAC has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding the conference’s decision.
Hollins will directly email an FAQ page to student-athletes in the next 24-36 hours that will address topics such as move-in dates, practice schedules, and more.