Morehouse College, an NCAA Division II school, announced Friday it has canceled its college football season along with the rest of the fall athletics schedule amid fears over coronavirus.
David Thomas, the school’s president, announced the decision in a letter to the students. He said the cancellation will affect the cross country and football teams.
“I want all of our scholar-athletes, parents, and alumni to know that the College will honor all athletic scholarship awards,” Thomas wrote. “Like all of the decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind. It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August.”
He continued: “Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”
Thomas asked for students’ understanding, including the seniors.
“We are committed to the principle that our athletes are first and foremost students. Each one was admitted to Morehouse with the expectation that he has the intellectual ability and commitment to finish his degree studies here. We will support each scholar-athlete to realize that central goal that brought him to Morehouse. Our dedicated academic support for our athletes and maintenance of NCAA and SIAC compliance standards will also continue,” he added.
The decision does not affect the upcoming winter and spring sports. He vowed that the school would “rise out of COVID-19 moment stronger and more focused on delivering our mission. So much of what the country has experienced these last few months makes clear that the world needs Morehouse.”
Morehouse’s football season was set to begin Sept. 5 against Edwards Waters at home. The team finished 4-6 last season and 2-4 in the conference.