The Southern Conference canceled all fall conference sports competitions Thursday, according to a press release by Mercer University.
“It is the intention [of the Southern Conference] to move the fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring,” according to the press release. “Practice and competition for some sports that have their championships in the winter/spring but traditionally have fall practice will be determined by each institution.”
The Southern Conference’s decision comes in the wake of the Pac 12 and Big 10 conferences canceling their fall football seasons for 2020. Other major conferences, such as the SEC and ACC, say their plans for football remain unchanged.
"This decision was made with extensive evaluation and conversation," Southern Conference Commissioner Jim Schaus said in the press release. "Ultimately, we felt it necessary to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff. This decision was also supported by the conference's medical advisory committee.”
The sports affected by the delay include football, soccer, cross country and volleyball. These sports will be delayed, at least until spring.
While only conference play has been canceled, Mercer will also delay out-of-conference play until spring.
"Although disappointed by the move to the spring, I look forward to meeting with our student-athletes as soon as possible and charting a new path forward,” Mercer Athletic Director Jim Cole said in the press release. “The actions by the conference leave flexibility for a partial schedule this coming semester. I look forward to pursuing all options related to games in the fall."
Mercer University will attempt to reschedule its fall sports in the future and make a decision regarding winter and spring sports that begin practicing this fall.
Micah Johnston ‘22 is a journalism and media studies double major who has written for The Cluster since his freshman year at Mercer. He has written on and reported for Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Macon Telegraph and The Macon Newsroom on a variety of topics. He received the Center for Collaborative Journalism’s Junior Honors Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. Micah’s other interests include obsessively following Braves and Mariners baseball, constantly listening to all kinds of music and probably eating junk food.