“We’re going to do as much as we can to have as many contests as possible for our student-athletes that can be played in as safe as an environment as possible,” Joe Matthews said.
Emory & Henry is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, which announced last week that because of the coronavirus pandemic, its members will not begin the fall season until Sept. 11.
A priority for E&H and other ODAC schools is a full conference schedule when possible. Men’s and women’s soccer, however, will play a modified schedule in place of its normal round-robin slate, the league said.
The NCAA Division III board of directors earlier approved a measure allowing schools to play 33% fewer games in the upcoming school year and remain eligible for postseason competition.
That means DIII football schools could play just five games and qualify for the postseason. But Matthews said the ODAC is committed to having all of its members play full conference schedules.
Nonconference games are still up in the air.
E&H can’t play Bluefield this year in football as scheduled because Bluefield is an NAIA school, and the NAIA has restricted its members to conference-only play.
Matthews said the remaining part of the football schedule is still to be determined, as are those for volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country.
“It’s really fluid,” Matthews said, who added that the process could change depending on the ongoing nature of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first day for athletes to report to camp for fall sports is Aug. 10, Matthews said. As things stand, he anticipates that E&H programs will have their athletes report within a couple of days of that date.
“That will really be up to the individual programs, but I think they will keep the schedule that they originally set,” Matthews said.
He expects to have finalized fall sports schedules within the next week or so.
E&H’s original football schedule has an open date of Sept. 12.