Flagler College only Florida program considering playing in 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Official Florida FC

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed lives, altered livelihoods and forced the cancelation and alteration of scores of events and activies across the world.

College soccer is one of the many things that has been altered.

On Aug. 13, the NCAA announced it will cancel its fall sports championships for the 2020 season

“My staff has been working hard on it, and talking to a lot of commissioners — all of them, all 32 of them in D-I, and there are ways to do this,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in a video released by the NCAA. “I’m completely confident that we can figure this out. If schools and conferences want to move forward, and try and have it and more than half of them want to do it — and that’s surely the indication now then let’s do it. We can use the fall and keep kids healthy, keep them engaged with their coaches and their athletic departments. Focus on their academic success. Work with them and let them practice and stay ready to play, then let’s go compete at that time.”

From a Florida perspective, that means hundreds of student-athletes will not take the pitch this fall. There are 45 Division I and Division II soccer programs in the state — 24 women’s programs, 21 men’s programs — that will not kick off this fall.

Florida’s Division I programs will compete in the spring.

“We remain committed to providing our student-athletes a quality experience and competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco in an Aug. 25 statement. “We were prepared to conduct competition in the fall in men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, but moving to the spring was in the best interest of our student-athletes as it will align our schedules to allow our teams to compete for national championships.”

Central Florida won the American’s men’s soccer regular season title last year. South Florida won the American’s women’s soccer tournament title last year.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State, Miami), Southeastern Conference (Florida), American Athletic Conference (UCF, USF), Atlantic Sun (North Florida, Jacksonville, Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast) and Conference USA (Florida Atlantic) have all announced they will try to play in the spring.

Flagler College forward Sara Sandberg (10) attempts a first half shot over the outstretched boot of Nova Southeastern central defender Paige Napolitano during the first half of a NCAA Division II quarterfinal on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Flagler won 4-0 to advance to its first semifinal. [Will Brown/Official Florida FC]

At the Division II level it appears that St. Augustine-based Flagler College is the only program in the state that has not ruled out playing this fall.

Flagler is a member of the Peach Belt Conference. The Peach Belt will make a decision on whether to play a condensed fall schedule by mid-September.

The other 24 Division II programs in the state are members of either the Gulf South Conference or the Sunshine State conference. The latter announced in July that it would not field fall sports competition in any sport this fall. Meanwhile, the Gulf South announced on Aug. 12 that it would not play soccer, as well as volleyball and football, until at least January.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *