Spring has sprung! Last week, the Liberty League and Ithaca College announced plans to engage in spring sport competition. This is a moment we have all been working toward since March 12, 2020, when the NCAA canceled winter sport championships and all spring sport competition and championships.
The process for our re-engagement in athletics practices, training and competition has been led by Dr. Andrew Getzin, IC team physician and Mike Matheny, head athletics trainer; in collaboration with the Health and Safety Advisory Group, notably Christina Moylan, director of public health and emergency preparedness and Ellyn Sellers-Selin, M.D., medical director for the Center for Counseling, Health and Wellness.
The unanimous support from all 11 presidents of Liberty League members resulted from a thorough review of numerous studies that indicate participation in athletic competition is not a primary driver of COVID-19 transmission. All Liberty League spring sports are low or intermediate risk outdoor sports and are following the same requirements for hosting competition. Furthermore, the seasons have been modified in terms of duration and number of contests. All travel will be same-day travel with no overnights, and all participants will complete daily health screenings and be tested prior to competition.
The Liberty League and Ithaca College spring competition plan balances individual and public safety with the benefits of the safe return to competitive sports. The plan is written with current available data and guidelines, which in fact exceeds the requirements set forth by the NCAA. The plan allows athletes to compete in their sport while mitigating the risk to the campus community.
This plan includes ways to reduce the risk to participants and the campus community by emphasizing good hand hygiene, mask wearing, physical distancing when possible and required testing prior to competition. Shared standards within the Liberty League for testing, travel, host facility access and criteria for canceling a contest will be agreed upon before any competitions take place.