After careful consideration and extensive deliberations, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Council of Presidents has voted unanimously to postpone conference competition in fall season sports that are classified as high risk by the NCAA.

Conference competition and conference championships in football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball will be postponed to the spring.

“Manchester University and its athletics staff are committed to offering student-athletes an engaging athletic experience with extensive team activities this fall, followed by competitive seasons in the spring,” said Rick Espeset, director of athletics and head baseball coach at Manchester.

“In response to the ever-changing shifts in the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes place the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and campus community as the highest priority, while also ensuring an opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport. Manchester University will continue to consult with health professionals to explore out-of-conference competition in these sports during the fall semester,” he said.

“The decisions about shifting the competitive seasons for the high-risk sports came after thorough analysis and discussions about whether institutions in the Heartland Conference could fulfill NCAA testing recommendations without drawing vital health resources from their local communities,” Espeset said.

Based on risk classifications by the NCAA, the conference has decided to move forward with the fall season sports of golf, tennis and cross country. Additionally, the HCAC will schedule competitions for the medium-risk spring sports of baseball and softball during the fall semester. These competitions will not count toward conference championship standings.

A decision on basketball and wrestling, which are classified as high risk by the NCAA, will be made soon. Swimming and diving, classified as low risk by the NCAA, will to move forward with its standard schedule.

The HCAC and Manchester University will continue to explore all options for a safe return to intercollegiate athletics. The HCAC leadership will communicate further developments regarding competition in 2020-21 as solutions are finalized and implemented. The priority of the HCAC, its Council of Presidents, and Manchester University continues to be a commitment to the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, support staff and campus community.

Manchester has developed a Q&A page that will address many questions, which may be viewed by visiting https://www.muspartans.com/general/2020-21/releases /20200724gutov3.

Anne Gregory is the assistant director of media relations in the Office of Strategic Communications at Manchester University.