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ODAC unveils plan for return to competition in spring semester

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 6:39 PM EST
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FOREST, Va. (ODAC) - 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, the league announced Tuesday.

“Every institution in the ODAC has been focused on ensuring the best possible student experience throughout the pandemic and the role athletics plays in that is an important one,” said David Bushman, President of Bridgewater College and currently serving as chair of the ODAC Presidents Council. “As we have all learned over the past nine months, prudent planning and the capacity to respond quickly to changing circumstances go hand in hand. We believe putting detailed plans in place now for a return to competition beginning in January is the best way to honor the commitment we make to all of our students.”

The council said the conference will follow all established NCAA testing recommendations. The league’s board of directors has also developed standard operating procedures for competition with the help of 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 & field, and swimming will maintain their opportunities to qualify for NCAA championship participation.

Second-semester competition is scheduled to begin on January 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,” said ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “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.

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