Morehouse College student-athletes won’t suit up at all during the 2020 fall semester.
The historically black college in Atlanta announced Friday that “due to the COVID-19 virus, Morehouse College will not participate in intercollegiate athletic competition sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) this upcoming Fall.”
Morehouse, which typically only fields football and cross country teams in the fall, said it will honor all scholarships for affected athletes.
“Like all of the decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind,” Morehouse College president David A. Thomas wrote in a letter announcing the move. “It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August. Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines. Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”
The Division II school also offers baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, track and volleyball throughout the year. Thomas said that no decisions have been made for the winter and spring seasons.
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Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel wrote that Morehouse’s decision to “cancel football exemplifies ‘tough decisions’ for HBCUs amid pandemic.” Thamel noted that Morehouse is believed to be the first scholarship team to cancel football this fall, while a number of games featuring HBCUs have been canceled.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has brought to light the byproduct of race, class and economic inequality,” Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference commissioner Gregory Moore told Yahoo. “Similarly, within the context of intercollegiate sports, there exists a significant class divide between schools and leagues that have significant media rights agreements and those who do not. As a consequence, limited resource institutions in general and many HBCUs in particular, face greater challenges as they attempt to navigate this post Covid-19 landscape.”
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