Following multiple days of deliberation from the Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents, the OVC has announced the postponement of all fall competition due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Ohio Valley serves as the final FCS conference to postpone fall athletics.
Sports affected by the conference’s decision include the APSU golf, tennis, soccer, cross country, volleyball and football teams. In addition, regularly held scrimmages for the Governors baseball and softball teams will no longer take place.
“After careful deliberation, weighing all the factors as presented, and given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVC Board of Presidents voted to postpone the conference’s fall sports to the spring,” OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche said in a release. “While we understand there are many student-athletes, families, and communities that are disappointed by the lack of Conference competition this fall, and we deeply share that disappointment; it is the OVC’s ardent intention to ensure seasons postponed are not seasons canceled if the facts support it.”
Non-conference competition will be permitted for football only, with as many as four out-of conference opponents per school being approved to play during the fall semester. The Govs are slated to face Central Arkansas and travel to the University of Cincinnati, as well as the University of Pittsburgh. East Tennessee State was initially on the schedule for Sept. 26 at Fortera Stadium but has since been postponed.
The Governors week zero match up against the Sugar Bears – part of the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff – will be the first college football game of the 2020 season.
“I am glad we have a resolution regarding the fall sports season,” Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison said in a statement. “While it is disappointing our student-athletes will not have a chance to compete for the Ohio Valley Conference Championship this fall, I am glad the door is open for them to compete for championships in the spring.
“While our football team will have to wait to defend their 2019 OVC Championship, they are as excited as I am to still have the opportunity to play in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff Game against Central Arkansas on ESPN before a national audience. While we are in a period of transition, we must continue to exercise an abundance of caution to protect our student-athletes, coaches and staff. As an athletics department, we are not deterred from our overall goal of pursuing excellence in all aspects of the student-athlete experience, better known to us as the ‘Total Gov Concept.'”
The conference announced that, as of now, no changes have been made regarding the winter and spring athletic semesters.