“The League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans,” its statement read. “However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority.”
The Patriot League is the latest conference to announce its plans for the upcoming school year as universities around the country make adjustments amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Ivy League was the first Division I conference to announce it would not hold fall sports as scheduled. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have announced conference-only schedules for all fall sports.
Navy and Army were granted an exemption because they “are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education,” the Patriot League said in its statement. The Navy football team, which competes in the American Athletic Conference, reported to campus July 5 and is in the midst of completing a 14-day isolation period. The Army football team competes as a Football Bowl Subdivision independent.
A Navy spokesman said it is at “ground zero” in trying to build schedules for its fall teams that compete in the Patriot League; facing Army multiple times is an option.
Army Athletic Director Mike Buddie said in a statement that his department has been planning potential scenarios for months. “Common to every planning scenario designed to allow us to compete this year, regardless of sport, is a mandate that they incorporate a tightly-coupled, holistic approach between the athletics department and the entire West Point enterprise to ensure the health and safety of our cadet-athletes, staff, coaches and loyal fan base remains the top priority,” he added.
Georgetown’s football and women’s rowing teams are also affected by the Patriot League’s plans.
“The current global pandemic has required us to adapt to the world around us, and our priority remains the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed said in a statement. “... Words cannot express the sadness I feel for our student-athletes who have worked tirelessly to achieve their dreams. We will continue to support them through these difficult times and remain steadfast and committed to preparing for when we can all safely return to the Hilltop.”