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McMurry, Howard Payne, and Hardin Simmons postpone fall sports until spring 2021



ABILENE, TX – The American Southwest Conference Council of Presidents has announced the delay of conference-scheduled competition and championship events for fall championship sports with anticipation of resuming ASC competition and tournaments in spring 2021. The delay includes the fall sports of cross country, football, soccer and volleyball.

McMurry, Hardin Simmons, and Howard Payne University are all part of the American Southwest Conference.

According to an ASC press release, the decision by the presidents was made after evaluation of Division III legislative waivers and Association-wide actions; consideration of conference scheduling options for fall sports; and review of current public health guidelines.

“The ASC Council of Presidents recognizes the disappointment of students who normally participate in conference-scheduled regular-season and championship competition during the fall semester,” said Amy Carlton, commissioner of the American Southwest Conference, “The conference leadership and administrators will continue planning for fall sports to resume conference competition and tournament opportunities in the spring semester as appropriate.”

McMurry’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Sam Ferguson, sent a letter to the War Hawk scholar-athletes encouraging a positive approach to the decision.

“Our coaches and staff are making the best of this situation and remaining positive,” Ferguson said. “We are all committed to moving forward with a meaningful fall athletics experience that will allow for growth in our scholar-athletes and position us for success in spring competition. Everyone at McMurry is working hard to create a safe environment not only for our scholar-athletes, but also for our students in general. It’s going to take belief, positive attitudes, resilience and care for others to rally for a win. This pandemic is tough, but War Hawks are tougher.”

Hardins Simmons’ Director of Athletics released the following statement regarding the postponement of fall sports.

“We are disappointed that we will not be having a fall sports championship season as scheduled. We fully anticipate giving our student-athletes the best experience under the modified rules and regulations of the NCAA. We will adapt to the changes and will keep everyone informed of new information in this fluid process. Our student-athletes are our No. 1 priority,” said Dr. John Neese, HSU Director of Athletics.

Hunter Sims, HPU’s athletic director, cited the importance of preserving eligibility for student-athletes.

“Our student-athletes are eager to make the most of their time to train and compete,” Sims said. “Though the conference competition has been delayed, I’m pleased that the 50% plan will preserve their eligibility for the future.”

“Our athletic programs constitute a big part of the student experience at our university,” said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU’s president. “We had hoped to begin our full schedule of fall sports as originally planned, but in the midst of so much uncertainty we wholeheartedly support this decision to postpone our conference activities for the safety of our student-athletes, athletics personnel and fans.”

The American Southwest Conference membership anticipates approval of NCAA Division III playing and practice season waivers allowing greater opportunity for students in all sports to have a broad athletics experience throughout the 2020-21 academic year. Under the waiver, each campus would have flexibility in conducting individual and team skill instruction, strength and conditioning, and practices along with the prospect for enhanced academic and personal development, and other athletically related activities as health and safety conditions allow.