The spring sports season at Western Carolina, which had previously been suspended, is officially over.
That’s the latest local sports impact from concerns about COVID-19, the coronavirus.
By unanimous votes of the league’s Council of Presidents and athletic directors, the Southern Conference canceled all athletic-related activities – including competition, championships, organized practices and meetings – for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Commissioner Jim Schaus announced March 17.
“With the recent developments during this unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the membership feels it is necessary to revise our position and cancel all athletic-related activities for the spring,” Schaus said. “The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is of utmost importance, and discontinuing all activities is prudent and necessary.
“My heart breaks for those student-athletes who will not get the opportunity to compete in Southern Conference regular-season and championship events this year as well as some potentially in NCAA championships,” Schaus said. “However, protecting their health will always be most important and supporting their welfare our hallmark.”
The conference and its member schools will continue to communicate with national and state public health officials and medical experts to determine the best path forward related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Schaus.
“I am proud of our Southern Conference institutions on how we have worked together during this crisis,” Schaus said. “This has certainly been challenging, with more to come, but I know that we will persevere and return to future excellence.”