The Southland Conference announced Saturday that the league will cancel all remaining spring sports competitions and championship events, effective immediately.
The decision was reached by the conference’s presidential board of directors, in consultation with campus athletic directors, in full consideration of the health, safety and well-being of the league’s student-athletes, coaches, administrators, support personnel and fans on the league’s 13 campuses.
Southland members have been monitoring national, regional and local developments related to the worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and its impact on U.S. professional and collegiate sports, including Thursday’s announcement that NCAA Championship events will be canceled through the spring.
“These are unprecedented times,” said Brad Teague, Central Arkansas director of athletics. “Tough decisions had to be made to ensure we are taking prudent actions for the safety and well-being of all. These decisions were not made hastily or lightly, and while we regret we will be unable to continue our spring sports activities, it was the clear and only choice with the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months.
“We will continue to support our student-athletes in all other respects of academics, life skills and total wellness. We will practice appropriate social distancing and hygiene. We look forward to a time soon when we can again engage with our teams and fans and enjoy this great pastime of intercollegiate sports.”
The Southland had previously announced the cancellation of all competitions through March 30, including its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this week.
Now, in addition to the new competition and championship changes, athletic departments have also agreed to prohibit all team activities, organized or voluntary, through March 30.
Beyond that date, campus leaders will make determinations on other immediate and longer-term issues, such as team practice opportunities and other activities.
Athletic departments and conference office staff will address future NCAA eligibility issues for current spring sports student-athletes, and other matters of importance to the membership.
Further, as with any legislation action, the conference’s board of directors reserves the right to reconsider previous decisions.
The Southland’s spring sports offerings include baseball, softball, beach volleyball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.
The Southland Bowling League Championship, scheduled for March 19-22, has also been canceled.