Soon after the Big South Conference announced Wednesday that it would be suspending its fall sports seasons, Presbyterian College announced that its entire fall sports calendar was being postponed due to COVID-19.
The decision means that in addition to cross country, volleyball and men’s and women’s tennis and golf, PC will not take the football field for the first time since 1913. The Blue Hose were to compete as an independent in 2020 after leaving the Big South for the non-scholarship Pioneer League in 2021.
“The collegiate athletics experience at Presbyterian is very important to fulfilling the College’s educational and developmental missions,” said Rob Acunto, PC’s director of athletics. “Any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to PC student-athletes, coaches, and fans. However, health and safety remain the highest priority, and because of that, the decision has been made to suspend fall season competition.”
Less than a week ago, Spangler was preparing for his players – around 100 of them – to arrive on campus and talked about going forward with the football season despite losing seven games of the 2020 schedule as conferences opted for in-league schedules or canceled the season altogether.
But Spangler said safety would be the deciding factor on 2020.
“Nobody is more competitive and nobody loves football more than Tommy Spangler,” he said. “But, at the same time, if it means the health of 120 or 125 guys, we will shut it down right now, so that’s the way we’re going to operate. We’re going to try to do everything the right way.”
PC student-athletes will still be allowed to work out, but will be following safety protocols.
In a statement, the college’s athletics department said that PC athletics is “committed to exploring options that may provide future competitive experiences for fall sport student-athletes. The athletic department recognizes those options will be based on steps that may eventually be taken by the NCAA and the conference membership.”
Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander said the decision to suspend the season was difficult, but made with the safety of the student-athletes throughout the conference in mind.
“We are all broken-hearted that we will not be able to provide competitive opportunities for Big South student-athletes this fall,” commented Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle Kallander. “However, the path forward must protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, and some of the current trends and unknowns with COVID-19 have made that a huge challenge. Our intention is to shift these fall seasons to the spring as we would like nothing more than to crown Big South champions in all 19 of our sports this year if possible.”