CENTER VALLEY, PA – The Patriot League Office announced on Monday guidance regarding the 2020 fall competition, a list of principles to “guide the development of a Patriot League 2020 Athletics Plan.”
Five principles were mentioned in the short release:
- Student-athletes will return to campus at the same time as other students;
- Patriot League competition will begin at the end of September, with the expectation that League play will be completed prior to Thanksgiving;
- Non-League competition will not begin prior to Friday, Sept. 4;
- Patriot League member institutions will confirm that non-League competitors are following comparable health and safety protocols in advance of any contest; and,
- No Patriot League teams will fly to competitions and, with rare exceptions, regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.
This guidance indicates an imminent impact to the Patriot League football schedule.
Three Patriot League football teams have out-of-conference games that require flights: Colgate at Western Michigan September 4th, Fordham at Hawai’i on September 12th, and Georgetown at San Diego on November 21st. These games seem in danger of being cancelled based on the flight restriction.
Two teams on the Patriot League schedule have games scheduled prior to September 4th: Stony Brook at Fordham August 29th, and Lehigh at Villanova September 3rd. These, at best, would seem to need to be rescheduled to Saturday, September 5th, and would also be contingent on the Colonial Athletic Association are following “comparable health and safety protocols” as the Patriot Leaue.
Additionally, Lehigh is scheduled to travel to Holy Cross on September 12th, during Week 2 of the Patriot League conference schedule, which is outside the guidance of Patriot League competition starting “at the end of September.” It looks like this league game will have to be rescheduled to later in the year.
No Patriot League football school had a full spring practice schedule prior to the shutdown of spring sports.
The guidance that athletes will return at the same time as other students means that in a best case scenario, any fall preseason camps would be starting in the middle of August at best.
According to Andrea Adelson at ESPN.com, the Patriot League said “athletic directors will develop schedules to meet the criteria and announced at a later date.”
“In the coming days and weeks, our Lehigh staff will be working to detail the implications of this guidance for our programs, schedules, and COVID-19 management plans,” Lehigh athletic director Joe Sterrett added in an official statement.
Additionally, Bucknell Athletics and Patriot League athletic director Marcus Blossom had comments on Twitter as well.
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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