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Gannon University and PSAC Announce Athletic Seasons Update

Recreation and Wellness Center

Recreation and Wellness Center

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) has announced it will cancel all conference mandated regular-season and championship athletic events for fall sports that were previously moved to the spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the conference will reinstate a championship season for any sport that has six or more member institutions commit to participating. The decision was finalized after a majority vote by the PSAC Board of Directors which consists of the 18 member institutions’ presidents.

Meanwhile, the PSAC reaffirmed its commitment to proceed with the spring sports’ schedules and championships. An update on winter championship seasons is expected next week.

PSAC Release

Despite today’s PSAC announcement, Gannon University reinforced its intent to facilitate seasons for its fall athletic teams if conditions and the availability of willing PSAC institutions and non-conference contests are conducive to play.

“Our student-athletes and coaches have done such a great job in supporting each other and committing to the safety and well-being of their teammates and the entire campus community,” said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., president of Gannon University. “We returned to an open campus and they have earned the opportunity to compete through their sacrifices all semester. We will do everything that we can to provide them that chance while creating the safest environment possible.”

Gannon student-athletes have practiced and conditioned throughout the fall semester under University guidelines created for a safe return to play, including a rigid COVID-19 testing protocol. The women’s and men’s golf teams competed in six combined events during the fall. Gannon’s winter athletic teams are currently practicing during the championship segment of their season while the fall and spring teams had the ability to conduct non-championship segments during the fall semester.

Gannon administrators created protocols last summer for the safe resumption of athletics. The University began classes on August 10 and is scheduled to conclude finals in two weeks. The return to play plan included:

  • COVID-19 testing

  • Daily health screenings

  • Smaller “pod” systems for athletics activities

  • Virtual team meetings when applicable

  • Reduced room capacity and social distancing procedures when in-person meetings are needed

  • Office meetings by appointment only with a maximum of two people with masks and social

    distancing

  • Isolation and contact tracing procedures if someone tested positive

  • Increased cleaning and sanitation of athletic facilities, vans and buses

  • Traffic flow patterns for athletic facilities

  • PPE equipment for athletic training personnel and athletic personnel

  • Additional hand sanitizer throughout athletic facilities and on sidelines

  • Individual items for student-athletes such as face coverings and water bottles

  • Laundry service for athletic-related clothing

  • Reduced capacity in the athletic training room, aided by an online system for appointments

  • Social distancing at practice where applicable

  • Masks being worn at all times where applicable

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) still plans to conduct national championship tournaments for winter and spring championships.

    “We are appreciative of the membership’s decision to reaffirm a commitment to continuing to move forward with PSAC spring sports competition and championships,” said Gannon Director of Athletics Lisa Goddard McGuirk. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to facilitating a positive student experience and will continue to evaluate possibilities for our fall sports teams to compete during the spring semester, with health and safety remaining at the forefront of all of our decisions.

    “As an institution, we will continue to follow the testing guidelines of the NCAA, and with non-conference contests in the process of being scheduled for this semester, we will continue to explore opportunities for our student-athletes to compete safely.”

Current NCAA legislation allows all fall and winter student-athletes to regain their season of competition in 2020-21. Gannon students participating in those sports will not be charged with a season of eligibility regardless of how many contests they compete in.

Further updates regarding possible fall and winter schedules, as well as complete spring schedules, will be announced at a later date at gannonsports.com. Be sure to follow Gannon Athletics updates via Twitter (@GUKnights), Facebook (@gannonsports) and Instagram (gannongoldenknights).

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