Liberty League cancels winter sports season due to COVID-19 concerns

Union College basketball player Mike Concannon with coach Chris Murphy in background during a Dec. 5 practice. (Gazette file photo)

Union College basketball player Mike Concannon with coach Chris Murphy in background during a Dec. 5 practice. (Gazette file photo)

TROY — The Liberty League has canceled its winter sports season and championships due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced Monday.

The decision was made following a vote from the league’s Presidents Council. 

In a statement, Liberty League commissioner Tracy King said, “The decision to cancel Liberty League competition and championships was made after careful consideration and review of relevant facts and data. COVID-19 infection rates continue to increase throughout the country and we have also seen spikes in our college communities, which creates additional challenges for our institutions. We understand the deep sense of disappointment felt by our student-athletes that have trained and prepared for competition and we understand and share in their disappointment. Our institutions will continue to work to provide meaningful athletic opportunities to support our student-athletes.”

The decision affects all Liberty League winter sports at Union, RPI and Skidmore.

“As we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise both in the region and across the country, this was a very unfortunate and difficult decision that we had to make,” Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said in a press release. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire community continue to remain our top priority as we look to maintain the positive steps our campus community has taken so far this year.”

“We are deeply disappointed that this decision was necessary; however, we remain fully committed to our teams and all our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Skidmore athletic director Gail Cummings-Danson said in a statement. “Skidmore recognizes the importance of athletic participation to its student-athletes and we will continue to engage our student-athletes athletically in the safest ways possible.”

The fate of the upcoming ice hockey seasons at Union and RPI — which play at the Division I level in ECAC Hockey — is yet to be determined.

In a press release, Union announced that no decision has been made regarding the ice hockey programs, and that the school continues to work with ECAC Hockey to arrive at a decision regarding league play. According to the release, the ECAC hopes to have more clarity on its hockey season by mid-November.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, College Sports, Sports

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