BROOKLYN, N.Y. — With continued uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Joseph's College has decided to suspend intercollegiate athletic competition on both the Brooklyn and Long Island campuses for the winter 2020-21 athletic season. The suspension of play applies to SJC Brooklyn's men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's swimming teams.
The following is a statement released by St. Joseph's College President Donald R. Boomgaarden regarding the suspension of play:
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, many colleges and universities across the nation elected to opt out of athletic competition for the fall 2020 semester. The reason for this was clear: college-aged adults throughout the country have been increasingly affected by the virus, and the transmission of COVID-19 occurs with even more frequency and intensity during periods of physical exertion. The merits of this approach for SJC have been equally clear as the spread of the virus has been minimal on our campuses and amongst our student athletes this fall.
As we begin to approach the winter months, we find ourselves faced with continued challenges due to the pandemic. Much like the fall, many conferences and local institutions of higher education are making the difficult decision to suspend winter athletic competition due to the ongoing challenges posed by the virus.
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is and will continue to be my highest priority. For these reasons, and in consultation with our own athletic directors, as well as our Vice President for Student Life and Campus Services Shantey Hill-Hanna and many other stakeholders, I have decided it is in the best interest of the SJC community to cancel all winter 2021 athletic competition.
This decision was not made lightly; rather, it was made due to the increase in COVID cases in our surrounding communities, and the likelihood that it will continue to be prevalent in the immediate future. Even so, while I feel strongly that this course of action is required to protect our student athletes and the SJC community as a whole from being unnecessarily exposed to the virus, this approach will allow our student athletes to continue and thrive in their academic and athletic pursuits at SJC.
To ensure that student athletes remain engaged, we will still be allowing athletic teams to meet and to have limited practice opportunities when safely possible in accordance with NYS guidelines. This level of participation is fully allowable by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and student athletes will not be charged with a season of eligibility in doing so.
I remain optimistic about the future, and despite these challenges, I know that our athletic programs and our talented student athletes will continue to flourish, as they have done so wonderfully in the past. Further announcements about athletics for the spring 2021 semester will be forthcoming early next semester as the situation continues to evolve.