Bates College has canceled the remainder of its spring sports season in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, director of athletics Jason Fein said on Wednesday. 

The decision comes after the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which Bates is a member of and many of its teams compete in, canceled all of its conference competition, including conference championships, for the spring. 

In an email to the Sun Journal on Wednesday, Fein wrote “non-conference competitions are canceled as well as NESCAC competition with the exception of the remaining softball games this week. Winter teams will currently be able to finish NCAA championship participation but we will re-evaluate as needed.”

In a letter posted on Bates’ web site, Fein wrote it would be impossible for the spring season to continue.

“Like many other colleges and universities across the country, Bates has responded to public health directives and taken steps related to travel, large gatherings, and visitors to campus,” Fein said in his letter. “These factors make it impossible, as a practical matter, to move forward with athletic competition. 

“I realize this is very difficult and disappointing news, particularly for our seniors, who were looking forward to a final season of hard work and competition. I am mindful of just how important the athletic experience is to our students, as teams provide a sense of community, connection, and purpose. However, we find ourselves in a situation where we have an obligation, with respect to all college activities, to mitigate health risks to the Bates community as a whole.” 


NESCAC’s decision came “unanimously” after the conference’s college presidents met, according to a message on the conference’s website, “in light of the decision of many NESCAC schools to have students return home and complete the semester remotely due to COVID-19.” 

“The NESCAC presidents have been discussing COVID-19 on athletics, among many other issues our campuses are addressing as a result of the virus,” the message continued. “The situation will continue to change and our decisions will be dictated by the facts as we understand them, the guidance we receive from federal and state public health and governmental authorities, and issues specific to each campus. Several schools in the conference have restricted travel to states that have declared a state of emergency, and it may be that more join them before long. The NESCAC presidents will continue to consult regularly and provide support to one another, with the primary concern being the health and well-being of our campus communities.” 

Bates teams competing in NCAA winter championships — including Alpine and Nordic skiing, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving — were still scheduled to participate in those events as of Wednesday, according to Bates’ sports information department. 

The NCAA put out a statement Wednesday that “upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, will be played with only essential staff and limited family attendance.” 

Bates’ softball team will finish up its spring trip in Florida, which concludes on Saturday. 

Bowdoin College also announced its spring season will end on Saturday due to Coronavirus and the campus transitioning to remote learning for the remainder of the season.

Winter sports athletes competing in national championships are permitted to participate although, as previously announced, spectators will not be permitted in Morrell Gym for the women’s basketball NCAA sectional round this weekend.

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