The Peach Belt Conference Board of Directors announced several decisions on Friday which will allow for a limited fall season for cross country, tennis and golf while delaying volleyball and soccer to spring of 2021. The Board's decisions come following the NCAA Board of Governors' additional requirements and the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Division II fall championships as the results of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, all intercollegiate sports can begin countable related athletic activity (CARA), pursuant to applicable NCAA rules. Each PBC institution will have the autonomy to decide if they wish to engage in CARA this fall for sports in their non-championship segment.
Cross Country, golf and tennis competition for those institutions who can meet the Resocialization of Sports guidelines can begin on Oct. 1.
"The Peach Belt Board of Directors are working to balance our desire to provide student-athletes with opportunities to compete in low-contact sports, and our desire to do all in our power to provide a safe environment and to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Aiken and president of the PBC Board of Directors. "Each institutional leader in our conference is well aware of both the risks and opportunities during these unprecedented times, and will continue to respond to the NCAA requirements and national best practices as we make decisions."
Men's and women's cross country will run three regular-season meets followed by the PBC Championship in late November. The date and location of the PBC Championship will be announced at a later date.
"The Board feels confident we can conduct some low-contact sports such as cross country, golf and tennis this fall given the lower risk of exposure of those sports and the desire to engage our student-athletes in competition," said PBC commissioner David Brunk. "We are dedicated to following NCAA, CDC, federal, state and local government guidelines in regards to how we conduct our competitions and will be constantly monitoring the latest developments regarding COVID-19 as we move forward."
All PBC teams who choose to compete this fall will be required to follow the directives set forth by the NCAA Board of Governors, which address the risk of transmission of COVID-19, mitigating risks with face coverings and social distancing, an emphasis on outdoor training and strategies for transition periods and return to activity. Periodic testing of student-athletes will be required, the frequency of which is determined by the risk factors of the sports they play.
A decision regarding the men's and women's basketball playing seasons will be made at a later date.