Sun Belt cancels all organized athletics-related events

Dan Davidson, Associate Sports Editor

In order to address the growing concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the Sun Belt Conference has announced that all organized athletics-related activities are canceled through the remainder of the academic year. This includes practices, regular-season competitions and conference championships.

“These are uncharted waters for us in college athletics and in our society, for which there is no playbook. Our hearts go out to all that are being affected by this pandemic,” said Director of Athletics Doug Gillin in a press release.

The decision comes just days after the NCAA decided to cancel all remaining 2020 winter and spring NCAA championships. Those championships would have included a school-record six App State wrestlers at the NCAA Wrestling Championships that was scheduled to begin on March 19. 

The announcement abruptly ends the seasons of App State baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis. 

The baseball team had won nine of its last 10 games before its season was canceled, and women’s tennis star Sasha Pisareva was in the midst of a dominant season, still undefeated in singles matches.

“Our priority is always the health and well-being of our student-athletes, so we are following the guidance of state and local health officials, university leadership and the Sun Belt Conference in all of our decision-making,” Gillin said. “We will continue to proactively communicate with the App Family and look forward to when we can all be together cheering on the Mountaineers again.”

The NCAA will grant an additional year of eligibility to athletes that participate in spring sports.