Rowan University canceled its winter sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school announced Wednesday.
Rowan also scratched its plans to play last semester’s postponed fall season in the spring, saying in a release that idea is “no longer feasible under current conditions.”
The decision cited the health and safety concerns of the athletes and the university community, as well as the coronavirus infection rates that are growing locally and nationally.
“We know this is a great disappointment to many, particularly our student-athletes looking forward to their senior seasons, but the decision was made only after careful consideration of NCAA safety, competition and travel protocols,” Rowan Athletic Director John Giannini said in the release.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference has not mandated any of its schools to cancel the winter season. NJAC athletic directors have a Zoom meeting Friday, and the last date to opt out of the winter season is Monday.
Stockton athletic director Kevin McHugh said the Ospreys do not plan to opt out at this time.
“The way it stands right now, everybody is in until the agreed-upon opt-out date,” McHugh said. “Right now we haven’t decided, but, again, we are going to get together as a group (Friday) and kind of hash this out. I’m not entirely sure where that will end up.”
McHugh noted the meeting Friday will be important for the upcoming season to figure out what the other NJAC schools are thinking, especially after Rowan’s decision Wednesday. The NJAC basketball season is tentatively scheduled to start Feb. 5.
But with Rowan opting out and depending on how the meeting goes or if other schools decide to opt out, that date could be pushed back if the schedule needs to be adjusted.
“Depending on what those scenarios are, something is going to have to happen with regard to the conference schedule, minimally to adjust for Rowan,” McHugh said. “Right now, the way we were doing it, was all of us playing a limited number of games and trying to stay geographically located.”
For Stockton, that meant playing Rowan.
“Some of that has to get discussed,” McHugh said.
The coronavirus pandemic also canceled the entire spring season last year. Rowan officials said plans for this upcoming spring season have yet to be determined.
Stockton could still play its fall seasons in the spring in addition to its regular spring slate, but McHugh noted that those opt out dates are later and right now is just focused on ensuring a winter season for the university.
“I feel like a broken record saying this, but we are not able to answer many things because everything is constantly changing,” McHugh said. “With Rowan coming out of the gate before the deadline, I think, was a little bit of a surprise.
“Now the landscape has changed, and that has to get factored into our Zoom on Friday.”