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FPU calls off sports through end of 2020

  • A Franklin Pierce University football game in September 2019. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A Franklin Pierce University football game in September 2019. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • A Franklin Pierce University football game in September 2019. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Published: 7/17/2020 1:57:05 PM
Modified: 7/17/2020 1:56:55 PM

 The Council of Presidents of the Northeast-10 Conference voted unanimously on Thursday, July 16, to suspend all NE10-sponsored competition and championships through December 31 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NE10 considers the health and safety of its student-athletes, coaches, administrators, staff and wider campus communities to be of paramount importance. Despite each institutions’ planning over the past few months and the Conference’s collective efforts to forge a path forward, it has become clear that we are not able to conduct outside competition at this time in a manner that is consistent with the prioritization of our campus’ collective well-being.

“First and foremost, I would like to express how truly sorry and disappointed I am that our fall and winter athletes won’t start their seasons as we had all hoped for.” said Dr. Kim Mooney ’83, Franklin Pierce University President and chair of the NE10 Council of Presidents. “Ultimately, the postponement was the only responsible decision our Council could make in order to protect the health and well-being of student-athletes and staff across the NE10. I am confident our thoughtful, committed body of student-athletes will understand this decision and I know Raven Nation will ultimately emerge from this situation stronger than ever.”

The NE10 and its member institutions are striving to ensure a meaningful regular season and conference championship experience for its fall sport student-athletes during the Spring 2021 semester,  as long as a return to competition can be safely executed. Initial plans for spring competition fall sports will be provided at a later date.

The NE10 will also endeavor to provide a regular season schedule and/or conference championship experience for its winter sport student-athletes during the spring 2021 semester, with the intention of aligning with appropriate NCAA selection criteria and dates, as long as a return to competition can be safely executed.

“I understand this is disappointing news for our student-athletes to hear today, but I am confident they will all understand the reasoning behind the decision and appreciate the care and concern which went into making it,” said Rachel Burleson, Director of Athletics at Franklin Pierce. “Our entire staff has empathy for our student-athletes and we understand how difficult this is for them to hear, but we are certain we will get through this and come out a stronger Raven family.”

To best support a meaningful but safe student-athlete experience during the fall semester, team activities, practice and training opportunities will be determined and defined by each member institution and shall adhere to NCAA policies and state public health regulations.

NE10 institutions are unanimously committed to honoring athletics aid agreements that have been issued to student-athletes for 2020-21 in accordance to the terms and conditions laid out in those agreements.

The Council of Presidents provided the following statement:

“The Northeast-10 Conference Council of Presidents is united in its commitment to supporting local and state efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Campus resocialization guidelines – including restrictions on student and staff travel, social distancing requirements and limits on group gatherings, are being undertaken so that campuses can support in-person engagement and education. Aiding our member campuses in their reopening efforts is critical and while athletics is an integral part of campus life, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our NE10 community, including our student-athletes, staff and our towns and cities. As such, we have made the difficult decision that intercollegiate athletics competition has been suspended through December 31. We will strive to create meaningful competitive opportunities for our fall sports during the 2020-21 academic year, if it is deemed safe. We do not take this decision lightly and understand its impact. Our campus communities will do everything we can to support the well-being of our student-athletes this fall as we navigate these uncertain times together.”

Student-athletes will follow local campus policies regarding return to campus and in-person learning.

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