by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
After months on the sidelines, Dickinson student-athletes are preparing to get back on the field, following a March 5 endorsement by the Centennial Conference Presidents Council (CCPC).
The CCPC voted last week to approve a modified spring schedule and spectator-free competitions, with rigorous health and safety measures in effect. The endorsement applies to Dickinson baseball, golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field teams.
“Health and safety remain paramount to our conference,” said Centennial Conference (CC) Executive Director Portia Hoeg, as quoted in the CCPC’s March 5 announcement. “While we are pleased our Presidents Council has endorsed the spring sports plan, we will proceed with cautious optimism in providing competition opportunities to our membership. A return to play will be contingent on the conference and its member institutions being able to conduct competitions in ways that protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff members and their communities.”
Through the CC, Dickinson has competed in NCAA Division III athletics, along with other elite liberal arts institutions, since the 1981-82 academic year. In response to the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the CC canceled all competitions midway through the spring 2020 semester. The CC also canceled all events last fall.
Working closely with medical and public-health experts, the conference rolled out management protocols last week that make safe spring competitions possible for student-athletes, coaches and staff members at CC institutions that opt to compete this spring, as well as for members of their local communities. These guidelines exceed current NCAA health and safety standards.
According to those standards, outside spectators are currently prohibited from CC competitions. Dickinson’s athletics department will ensure that as many competitions as possible will be livestreamed this spring.
In light of the evolving nature of public health developments, Dickinson continues to evaluate health and safety on campus, in the local community and regionally, and continues to adhere to best practices, as advised by national and local public-health experts. The CC also continues to monitor evolving health and safety conditions statewide and will post any updates on the CC website. A modified CC schedule and championship format will be released at a later date.
Meanwhile, as President Margee Ensign announced in a March 12 email to the Dickinson community, Red Devil student-athletes are practicing, and coaches are finalizing competition schedules for CCPC-approved sports.
“We are very excited to be able to offer a competitive experience to our spring sport student-athletes this semester,” said Joel Quattrone, director of athletics. “I am very appreciative of the tireless work of the Centennial Conference and the President's Council that helped to create a plan that maximizes the health and safety protocols which we have put in place to offer an exceptional competitive environment in which to play.”
Published March 12, 2021