CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After announcing it has postponed all fall sports through Dec. 31 due to continued concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic back on July 24, the Ohio Athletic Conference revealed its plans for some of the affected sports to compete in the spring semester.
The fall sports postponed include cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
The start of the winter-season sports basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling will also be postponed until the new year.
The OAC said it was committed to moving the affected NCAA intercollegiate athletics competition to the spring semester.
Less than three weeks later, the OAC made good on their word for three sports that now have a competition calendar again.
Those three are football, soccer, and women’s volleyball.
According to the OAC, the schedules for the three sports will feature conference-only competition and will not exceed the NCAA 50% waiver so that all student-athletes will retain one of their four seasons of participation.
The start dates are slated for the weekend of March 12, 2021 and the seasons will conclude the weekend of April 16 with championship games in all sports.
Here are the descriptions the OAC gave for the three sports:
The Conference will split into two divisions, East and West. The East Division includes Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll, Marietta, Mount Union and Muskingum. The West Division includes Capital, Heidelberg, Ohio Northern, Otterbein and Wilmington. Each team will play the other four teams in its division (two home, two road) over a five week period with each team receiving a bye. All games are scheduled on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m., beginning on Friday, March 12. On Friday, April 16, the top seeds of each division will meet for the OAC Championship. The two-seeds will also play as well as the three-seeds, four-seeds and five-seeds. The East Division will host the #1, #3 and #5 games, while the West Division will host #2 and #4.
Men’s and women’s soccer will take the originally-scheduled fall 2020 round robin and move it to the spring, beginning on Sunday, March 14. The men and women will play at opposite sites each Sunday and Thursday (Monday, April 5 after Easter). Sunday contests will begin at 2:00 p.m., while Thursday matches are either 4:00 or 7:00 p.m. at the host’s discretion. On Sunday, April 18, the top seed will host the second seed for the Conference Championship. The third-seed will host the fourth-seed, etc., so that all 10 teams play 10 contests.
Women’s volleyball will take the originally-scheduled fall 2020 round robin and move it to the spring, beginning on Friday, March 12. Matches will be played every Friday night and Tuesday night until the regular season ends on Friday, April 9. Each date will feature a doubleheader match, resulting in a Conference double-round robin, with games starting at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. After April 9, the league will be seeded from one to 10 with the top four teams earning a spot in the Conference final four, played on Tuesday, April 13. The highest remaining seed will host the next highest remaining seed on Friday, April 16 for the OAC Championship. The two non-winners on Tuesday will also meet at the higher seed to complete an 11-date season. The six teams not making the final four will also be afforded 11 dates of competition during the week of April 12 by scheduling closer geographic matches at institutional discretion.
In place of competing, the OAC said it is planning “a robust engagement of student-athletes during the fall semester with conditioning and preparation for competition according to CDC guidelines and NCAA criteria in conjunction with local health guidelines.”
“The OAC believes we can continue to provide an excellent experience for our student athletes,” said Tim Gleason, Commissioner of OAC, “while continuing to make the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, families, fans and campus communities our highest priority.”
The ten schools that make up the OAC include Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, Marieta College, the University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, Otterbein University, and Wilmington College.