Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/17/20 – From Press Releases
Swarthmore College announced this week it is suspending all intercollegiate athletics for the spring of 2021.
Meanwhile, West Chester University announced earlier this week it would leave the door open for a possible shift to having spring athletics after announcing the previous week it would also cancel spring sports.
Swarthmore – competing at the Division III level – announced the decision Tuesday following an announcement by college president Valerie Smith that the school will not be returning to full residential enrollment in the spring. She said only juniors and seniors will be allowed on campus for the spring semester due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Swarthmore’s women’s lacrosse team was 5-0 and ranked No. 4 in the Phillylacrosse.com Philly 7 Division II/III Rankings when the season was canceled last spring. The men’s team was 4-2 and ranked No. 7.
“The value of athletics participation and its impact on community cannot be overstated, providing opportunities for collaboration across campus and institutional pride and energy that cannot be replicated in other forums,” the school said in a statement on its athletics website. “Athletics and physical education play a significant role in maintaining and strengthening the well-being of our community members; we are designing robust offerings for the upcoming academic year to support our community’s physical and mental health.
“Unfortunately, all of the measures we’re putting in place to keep our community members safe — strict physical distancing and masking policies, limits on the number of students returning to campus, severely restricting college travel, etc. — have prohibited our participation in intercollegiate athletic competition for the 2020-21 academic year. We support that decision, and our coaches are developing meaningful and creative ways to engage with members of their teams during the course of the year.”
Ten days earlier West Chester announced it would remain holding virtual classes and some hybrid classes and that its varsity and club athletic programs would not compete in the spring. The Rams’ women’s lacrosse program reached the NCAA championship in 2019 and in 2020 was considered a contender again for the crown, finishing No. 3 in the fina; rankings of a greatly abbreviated season (2-0).
The WCU men’s club team was the National College Lacrosse League champion in 2017 and has one of the region’s top non-NCAA programs.
“There is not enough information on the availability of rapid testing or a vaccine on a sufficient scale for us to be confident enough to announce and plan for a spring semester that includes a return to in-person instruction,” West Chester President Christopger Fiorentino said then.
But this week, WCU Athletic Director Terry Beattie told the West Chester Daily Local that the winter sports season would remain canceled but “the university is now willing to take a look and reconsider its position” for the spring.