In a move than some feared would come amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Empire 8 Presidents Council voted unanimously this week to cancel the upcoming fall sports season in their member schools.

That is unfortunate news locally as it means there will be no fall at sanctioned fall athletics at Utica College. However, the decision from the Empire 8 did say each school would be able to provide some ''opportunities'' for students this fall, via Empire8.com:

Individual Empire 8 institutions continue to have the ability to engage in athletic-related activity this fall to provide beneficial opportunities for their student-athletes and teams in accordance with local health policy.

Shortly after the vote, UC Athletic Director Dave Fontaine posted on the college's web site:

Dear Student-Athletes,

The Empire 8 Conference announced this evening that it would be postponing fall sports competition until the spring of 2021. We recognize that athletics plays a vital role in the overall campus experience for many of our students, however the health and well-being of not just our student-athletes but our campus community as a whole is our top priority. That being said, we will continue to look for ways to have authentic athletic experiences while ensuring the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, and community.

We will continue to adhere to local, state, and federal health guidelines, as well as NCAA recommendations and work within those parameters to develop a safe return to play protocol for our student-athletes.  At this time, no decision has been made in regards to the winter sports season. We will continue to assess the situation and will announce our plans for a winter season at a later date.

I look forward to seeing all of our students back on campus soon and anxiously await cheering on our teams during the 2020-21 athletics season.

The conference is actually comprised of nine members schools: Utica College, Hartwick, St. John Fischer, Stevens, Nazareth, Elmira, Alfred, Houghton and Sage.

The sports that fall on the fall calendar include: men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball

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