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Oberlin College cancels fall sports season

Oberlin College announced on Wednesday night that it has canceled its 2020 fall sports season.
Credit: Oberlin University

Oberlin College has canceled its 2020 season for all fall sports, school president Carmen Twillie Ambar announced in a letter to student-athletes on Wednesday.

The cancellation comes amid growing concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has sidelined the majority of sporting events in the United States since mid-March of this year.

"After consultation with several members of the Board of Trustees, NCAC officials, presidents and athletic directors within our conference and beyond, and public health professionals, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that conducting fall sports safely is just not possible at this time," Ambar wrote.

"We do not believe that we can create a safe framework to conduct fall sports because of the high contact required in almost all of the sports.  We found the risk that this would place on our student-athletes to be unacceptable.  Just as importantly, it would extend risk to our campus community, and, if we were to compete against other teams, it would extend the risk to our competitors and vice-versa.

"We know that individual institutions will be making their campus-based decisions about athletics over the next few weeks.  We also understand that our conference will attempt to conduct some athletics competitions this fall.  We respect these individual and conference decisions.  But, despite the conference plans, we are suspending the competitive fall athletic season.

"This has been a difficult decision.  As former competitive athletes, we realize there is nothing that can replicate the joy of competition.  But, we also know this is the right decision.  We have been looking at the national trends and watching as one positive COVID-19 case is requiring an entire team to be quarantined for 14 days.  It seemed inevitable that if we moved forward with athletics this fall, most if not all of our student-athletes would have canceled games, shortened seasons and unsatisfactory outcomes."

In addition to Oberlin, Case Western Reserve University has also announced that it has canceled its fall sports schedule. Meanwhile, Ohio State announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily pausing offseason workouts after a number of student-athletes tested positive for the coronavirus.

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