Bethune-Cookman University cancels all sports for 2020-21 due to COVID-19
Bethune-Cookman University becomes the first Division I program to cancel all sports for 2020-21 due to COVID-19. The pandemic’s severity led school administrators to shut down athletics after consulting with medical and public health experts and state and local officials.
“In the face of a surging COVID-19 spike across much of the country and the State of Florida, we have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time,” school president E. LaBrent Chrite said. “The university has ceased all student athletic activities until further notice, out of an abundance of caution. The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff, and fans will always be our top priority. We obviously recognize that other institutions may elect to move forward with spring competition. The decision for us, however, was not a complicated one. The risk premium is simply too high and our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. As members of the B-CU family constantly engage in various forms of civic engagement, this decision also protects our community partners as well.”
The university began widespread testing at the beginning of the school year with a spike a positive results recently.
“Over the past eight days, however, we’ve noted a sudden spike in cases on campus, hence this decision.” Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn W. Thompson said. “B-CU athletics has survived hurricanes, tornadoes and a myriad of other challenges. This pandemic has affected us all, including me personally,” said Thompson continued, who lost his own brother-in-law to Covid-19 last month. “Now is not the time for us to roll the balls out and play. It’s the time to close ranks and protect our community so that we can remain safe until it’s time to play again.”
The upcoming season would have been the 40th and final season for the university as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Effective July 2021, Bethune-Cookman will become members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).