Update on Kent State University Fall Athletics
Kent State fully supports the Mid-American Conference’s decision to postpone all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Given the information we have today regarding the spread of the virus and after careful consideration of the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff, we are not confident a safe environment can be created for athletic competition in accordance with our rigorous reopening standards. The risks associated with athletic competition, such as close contact with other student-athletes and travel requirements, present greater challenges to maintaining safety standards than do daily campus activities. We understand that this decision is heartbreaking for our student-athletes, coaches and trainers who work tirelessly to represent Kent State with excellence, as well as our alumni and fans whose support for our Golden Flashes is unwavering. We will continue to monitor the environment and make a decision on winter sports at a later time.
Kent State President Todd Diacon sent the following message to all student-athletes earlier today.
A Message to Kent State University Student-Athletes
Today, I along with the other MAC university presidents, voted to postpone all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We did so to protect your health and safety, and that of your families and friends, coaches and staff. With travel and extended close contact in practice and competitions, our ability to implement the kinds of public health best practices we’ve implemented for the general student body are constrained. Also, like many of you, we are concerned about testing availability and turnaround time, fearing that the thousands of tests required each week across the MAC might delay results for others in our communities. Because of cancellations of competitions to date, many of our teams already were facing shortened or disrupted seasons raising further questions about the risks versus the benefits of competing. We care about you, admire your dedication and competitive drive, and understand that this decision will disappoint many of you.
I am proud of our extensive plan, driven by health practitioners and public health experts, for the safest reopening of school possible, and we look forward to welcoming you and your fellow students back to campus for the fall semester. However, there are too many variables in athletics for us to control, and our ability to enhance everyone’s well-being is more limited in athletics than in academics. None of this is fair. In particular, I feel badly for our squads that are here, are working out and are following all of our safety protocols. I want to compliment all of you, including students, coaches and staff, for practicing our Flashes Safe Seven principles, and for doing all you needed to do to protect yourself and others during these past days and weeks. I have never been prouder of you than I am at this moment, and I have never been more disappointed in all of my years in higher education. You did all the right things, you deserve to compete, and yet forces well beyond our control at this moment have prevented us from granting you this opportunity.
It is important for you to know that you will keep your scholarship, and that we will engage with the NCAA to request an additional year of eligibility for those who seek it. It is also important to know that we are here for you, and your coaches will soon outline plans for workouts and team activities during the semester. Of course, I know that you will continue your studies, that you will continue to excel in the classroom and that you will continue to practice the habits that will protect your health, as well as the health of others.
We still do not know what the pandemic has in store for us this year. We will continue to monitor the situation, and at a later date we will make decisions about winter and spring sports. In the meantime, please know that all of us at Kent State University appreciate your dedication to your team, to your teammates and coaches, and to this great school. I wish you well, I wish you good health and I wish you success in all of your classes this fall.