South Atlantic Conference won’t play sports this fall

Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne, Mars Hill, Queens and Wingate all play in the 13-team conference.

Members of the Wingate football team celebrate their 2017 South Atlantic Conference championship. ( photo)

The NCAA Division II South Atlantic Conference is postponing its fall sports schedule until the spring of 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The league said its impacted sports are men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, football and volleyball.

Five North Carolina colleges — Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne, Mars Hill, Queens and Wingate — are among the league’s 13 schools, along with eight from South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The conference’s President’s Council announced the decision Friday. The group had previously chosen to delay fall competition until Sept. 26, but said that due to the continuing threat of the virus, it was imperative for the health of athletes, coaches, fans and campus communities to delay things even further.

“When we made the decision to delay the start of the fall seasons, we were hopeful the nationwide trends would improve and allow our student-athletes to compete,” Dr. Maurice Scherrens of Newberry, chair of the SAC Presidents Council, said in a statement. “However, the pandemic has not improved as we had hoped, and we feel the best decision is to postpone any competition to the spring 2021 semester. This was an extremely difficult decision to make and we did not make it without careful consideration of all parties involved.”