WINSTON-SALEM, NC (JULY 28, 2020)—Salem College, an NCAA Division III member of the USA South Athletic Conference, is supportive of the conference’s decision to postpone all fall sports. With the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and athletics staffs as their priority, the presidents of the USA South Athletic Conference, including Salem College Interim President Susan Henking, voted unanimously to postpone all fall sport conference competition until the spring 2021 semester.
The fall sports impacted at Salem College include soccer, swimming, and volleyball.
The USA South Athletic Conference made the decision after considering several factors, including the trending number of COVID-19 cases throughout the conference’s geographical footprint. Other major factors include the availability, cost, and feasibility of adequate and consistent testing for student-athletes.
“While we are disappointed to postpone our fall sports programming, we are confident it is the right thing to do,” said Patricia Hughes, Salem College Director of Athletics. “Our Salem College Athletics COVID-19 Task Force, in conjunction with the Salem Academy and College Fall 2020 Task Force, will continue to monitor federal, state, and local reopening guidelines and considerations to preserve the health and safety of our student-athletes.”
“Although we will not compete this fall, the Athletics Taskforce and Salem staff will continue to work to establish a safe new normal that works for our athletic teams, staff, and student-athletes,” Hughes added. “When we return to South Athletic Conference competition in a few months, we will have plans and procedures firmly in place that will help make our student-athletes’ return to practice and play a success.”
“While our member institutions maintain the freedom to address athletics as they see best on their individual campuses this fall, the NCAA recommendations, especially those related to testing, that came out recently were a real game changer for our 18 conference schools collectively,” detailed Dr. Tom Hart, USA South Commissioner. “We will begin work immediately to develop a strategic plan that allows for fall conference sports competition to return in some capacity in the spring, provided public health conditions improve in the coming months.”
“Providing safe opportunities for our student-athletes to pursue their passions has always been a hallmark of this conference,” shared Dr. James Mellichamp, Piedmont College President and Chair of the USA South Presidents Council. “The global pandemic has currently hindered our conference, along with a vast majority of Division III conferences, from carrying out that intention this fall. Until we can ensure safe conditions for student-athletes, coaches, and staff to travel and compete on a variety of campuses, each institution will need to focus its efforts on maximizing the opportunity to develop best practices—related not only to collegiate athletics but also academics—within the constraints of local and state guidelines.”
About the USA South Athletic Conference
Established in 1963, the USA South Athletic Conference is a NCAA Division III member, is comprised of 18 member institutions spanning six states in the southeastern portion of the United States and conducts championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.
About Salem Academy and College
Salem Academy and College is the oldest educational institution for girls and women in the United States. With more than 18,000 alumnae who serve as entrepreneurs, physicians, researchers, artists, lawyers, teachers, community volunteers, and corporate executives, Salem Academy and Salem College continues to educate the next generation of global leaders. For more information about Salem Academy, please visit salemacademy.com. For more information about Salem College, please visit salem.edu.