(ASHEVILLE, N.C. ) – The Appalachian Athletic Conference Council of Presidents released the following amended statement today regarding the 2020 Fall sports season:

The Appalachian Athletic Conference supports the very best policies to identify, contain, and mitigate the possible infection and spread of COVID-19 among its member institutions and their student-athletes while conducting Fall competition. While institutional policies and practices are recognized as governing the start dates for student’s return to campus and classes beginning, the Conference has established that student-athletes may begin practice (as defined by the NAIA), including scrimmages, no earlier than Saturday, August 15, 2020. Competition, Conference and non-conference, may begin no earlier than Saturday, September 5, 2020. This will allow adequate time for sport-specific training and conditioning prior to any competition.

Additionally, the following Fall sports will have a reduction in the maximum number of contests:

  • Cross Country: 7 meets
  • Men’s & Women’s Soccer: 14 games
  • Women’s Volleyball: 22 dates

The Conference will publish a health and wellness prescreening checklist to ensure that all student-athletes have received temperature checks and been interviewed by medically trained personnel prior to being cleared for competition.

The message we want to make loud and clear is this: the health and well-being of our student-athletes are foremost in our planning and each of our member institutions will have appropriate COVID-19 pre-screening and mitigation policies and procedures in place to ensure that we are providing the best and safest competitive environment for our student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and officials.

Commissioner John Sullivan added, “Besides our concern for establishing the very best safety and health policies and procedures are the realization that we want to continue to provide the very best competitive experience for our student-athletes. We understand that many, if not most, of these young men and women have been preparing their entire lives for the opportunity to compete in the sport they love at the collegiate level. We understand that there is a very small window of 4-5 years in which to experience this pinnacle of competition. We are committed to ensuring that their experience is not diminished due to the circumstances which we are confronted with today.”