The University of Maine at Farmington’s Kaya Backman (8) passes the ball as St. Joe’s Kayla Kelly (3) tries to intervene during a 2019 lacrosse game in Standish. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

All University of Maine at Farmington athletic director Julie Davis is waiting for is the conference’s approval of the Beavers’ plans for the spring sports season.

“Yes, indeed,” Davis said. “Once the presidents of the North Atlantic Conference approved our proposed plans, we could work on the details to operationalize those games and schedules … namely for baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse.  

“Outdoor track and field doesn’t have a conference schedule, per se, but we are working on events for them as well with the other D-III programs in-state. Golf is typically a fall sport for us, but with the NCAA championship in the spring, we even have a plan to fit in a little spring golf as the season allows.”

There won’t, however, be a spring season for Central Maine Community College.

“No! We will probably do some workouts. That’s all we will do,” CMCC athletic director Dave Gonyea said. “It is going to be tough. I want to do it right, and our league (Yankee Small College Conference) decided they weren’t going to have sports this year — safer than sorry, I guess.

“We’ll come back in the fall. We will be strong in the fall. We will have all our kids and we will do it right.”

Last week, the NAC announced that it was moving forward with putting together a spring sports season. The top priority for the conference and its schools is to keep COVID-19 in check during the modified season.

According to a NAC release: “Previously planned spring sport conference schedules were replaced by updated models designed to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 while maximizing the experience for student-athletes. Members will follow NCAA guidelines for the safe return to collegiate athletics, as well as directives from all federal, state and local health authorities.”

The NAC includes five Maine schools — UMaine-Farmington, Thomas, Maine Maritime, Husson and UMaine-Presque Isle.

Davis said that conference competition will be divided by location this spring.

“The gist is that the members decided to minimize travel and focus on divisional play,” Davis said. “So the Maine and Vermont members are in the East Division. We have a crossover championship plan that was tentatively in place for the winners of the region — if the NCAA D-III championships would be happening and other variables that make it safe to do, allow.  

“Presidents are poised to assess it all again soon, but we are proceeding as if it will be in play. The other caveat that the NAC put in play, was to limit competition to a single opponent a week — but we can play them a number of times … i.e. softball/baseball can play a couple of doubleheaders against the same team in a series.  

“It is a pretty conservative approach, but it helps us manage some space, time and testing between different opponents.  We are all still navigating the principle of this versus a strict, seven-day week. Spring in New England typically provides some challenges with weather and reschedule. Maybe we’ll catch a break this season.”

But track and field and golf, which is normally a fall sport, are different stories.

“In a typical year, a schedule would include a number of big meets in and out of state. Most of that is off the table, and there is not a conference schedule,” Davis said. “Everyone (the colleges in state) are working together to see what kind small meets we can make happen locally. There will be some.

“And, finally, we usually play golf in the fall, but the NCAA championship is in the spring. We are going to get teams on the courses as soon as they allow and get in an event or two and see if we can determine an East-West champion, who would then — as it stands now — plan a playoff.”

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