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ODAC plans spring return

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Presidents’ Council, in consultation with the ODAC Board of Directors, has endorsed a plan for a return to collegiate competition during the 2021 spring semester.

ODAC leadership has been continuing its thorough review of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on athletic opportunities throughout the league’s membership.

Hampden-Sydney College is one of the 15 schools that comprise the ODAC.

The first priority of the conference leadership is ensuring the well-being of all individuals involved in collegiate competition and on its member campuses. As such, the ODAC Presidents’ Council committed that the conference will follow all established NCAA testing recommendations. A Standard Operating Procedures for Competition has been completed. The document was developed by the ODAC Board of Directors and a number of member working groups, including athletic training and sports medicine personnel.

The ODAC considered several different scheduling models as part of its return to competition plan.

The resulting framework provides regular season and conference championship structures for fall and winter sports in addition to the unaltered previously established spring sport schedules and championships.

Basketball, indoor track and field and swimming will maintain their opportunities to qualify for NCAA championship participation.

Second semester competition is scheduled to begin Jan. 23 with men’s and women’s basketball. All other sports will begin later as the semester progresses.

“The conference has worked diligently to create a plan for all our student-athletes to continue their collegiate athletic experience in the spring,” ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston said. “I am pleased with the progress we have made and the plans we have created. While no one can control the pandemic, we can continue to follow local guidance, implement well-documented best practices regarding health and safety and prepare for competition following the recommendations presented by the NCAA.

“I thank all the student-athletes, parents, coaches and fans who have been patient with us during this difficult time. We’re all living in an environment where we must continue to closely monitor recommendations from health professionals and pivot when and where needed.”

Conference leadership will meet on a regular basis between now and the end of 2020 and continue with its planning for competition in 2021. Leadership will track the progress of COVID-19 and subsequent health and safety recommendations provided by local, state and national public health authorities.