CARMEL – After continued analysis and deliberation, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Council of Presidents has voted unanimously to postpone all conference related contests and competitions, including HCAC Championships slated for fall 2020.

The HCAC Council of Presidents had previously made the decision to modify the timing of conference competition and championships for fall sports classified by the NCAA as high contact risk (football, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball) and to conduct conference competition for those sports during the spring. The latest vote also postpones competition in those sports the NCAA classified as medium and low contact risk (women’s golf, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s cross country). The conference will be working with the coaching groups in each of these sports regarding the shift to a spring conference season.

The HCAC Council of Presidents felt that member institutions have made every reasonable effort to conduct safe competitions this fall, meeting the resocialization expectations of the NCAA. Given the recent statement from the Division III leadership, the Council voted to suspend conference related competition until January 1, 2021. They also affirmed that each institution will retain the individual institutional autonomy to conduct athletic related activities as they see fit.

“In light of this difficult decision, Manchester University and its athletics staff are still committed to offering its 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 adjusting to the challenges presented by the pandemic, these modifications maintain safety as the highest priority but help ensure the opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport.

The winter sports of basketball (defined as high contact risk sport by the NCAA) and swimming and diving (classified as a low contact risk sport by the NCAA) will not hold conference competition prior to January, 2021.

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 its student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and campus community.