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ODAC fall planning for sports

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), which includes Hampden-Sydney College, has been in active discussions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic regarding its impact on conference collegiate athletics operations. As the fall 2020 campaign approaches, the conference remains committed to a return to athletic competition.

The ODAC leadership has met regularly over the past several months to provide a framework for a return to fall competition, with its primary focus on the health and well-being of ODAC campus communities, student-athletes, coaches, administrators and visitors.

In addition to regular meetings with campus leadership, conference efforts have included the formation of a health and safety working group. This group, made up of member athletics directors and athletic trainers, has developed a set of guidelines for member institutions to use as they prepare for a resumption of athletic activity in the fall. The guidelines will be reviewed on a regular basis as national, regional, state and NCAA recommendations are updated.

The return to competition timeline has been a key issue addressed by the working group and additional committees. All ODAC members have agreed to a consistent start date for all regular season play, establishing Friday, Sept. 11 as the first allowable date of competition for all fall sports.

This adjustment allows member institutions adequate time to welcome student-athletes to campus and properly resocialize with a focus on a safe return to competition. Teams are free to schedule non-conference competition on an institutional basis when open dates are available on their respective schedules.

The league has made several other changes to current scheduling policies, including a modification to round-robin competition in men’s and women’s soccer. The league will continue to evaluate adjustments to established schedules to better provide student-athletes with a safe, competitive and meaningful athletic experience.