SIAC suspends 2020 fall sports season, including Savannah State

College Sports

Savannah State University Tigers play Morgan State University Bears during a NCAA football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. (SSU Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah State University (SSU) had a historic season last year but they won’t get a chance to follow it this fall.

In addition, SSU volleyball and cross country student-athletes will not play.

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) on Thursday announced all sporting and championship events would be suspended through the fall.

“Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff, coaches and fans,” SSU Director of Athletics Opio Mashariki stated. “We also want to follow the lead of the conference office concerning the suspension of fall sports.”

“As of today, and as COVID-19 infections surge throughout the country in general and the southeastern region in particular, it would be difficult to fairly and responsibly conclude that meaningful progress has been made at this time,” a statement from SIAC reads.

SIAC Council of President Chairman George T. French, Jr., said the decision was made based on data, science and current COVID-19 trajectories.

“In light of these very difficult realities, and in the context of the overarching priority of all of my colleague SIAC presidents to protect the health, wellness and safety of all of our students and staff, we are confident that the decision announced today is consistent with those fundamental health and safety priorities,” French said.

Commissioner Gregory Moore added that SIAC intends to seek eligibility relief for student-athletes impacted, similar to what was seen in the spring, during the early stages of the pandemic.

The conference will also assess the possibility of moving some falls sports, including football, into the spring semester.

In preparation, SSU says the university is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help to ensure the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans.

Winter and spring sports are scheduled to take place as usual, SSU added.

The SIAC and The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) prepared a joint statement on the matter:

The CIAA and SIAC both appreciate and understand the significant impact that today’s announcements had in regard to the status of 2020 Fall sports. Both the CIAA and SIAC enjoy athletic related events, traditions, and rivalries that date back over one-hundred years. However, in light of the increased health and safety risks confronting much of the country, today the CIAA and SIAC affirm that the welfare of our student-athletes is sacrosanct and must preempt all other considerations when evaluating any return to competition efforts.”

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