A Division III NCAA conference in the Midwest has decided to delay the start of its fall sports season and will try again in the spirng.

On Monday, the Hoosier Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) announced that it will be moving the fall sports seasons of football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball to the spring. Those sports are considered to be “high-risk” athletic programs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference released a statement on its decision.

After extensive deliberations, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Council of Presidents has unanimously voted 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). The Conference will move the start of those sports’ competitive seasons to the spring. The HCAC is committed to offering engaging athletic experiences for student athletes in these sports withextensive team activities this fall followed by spring competitive seasons.In adjusting to the challenges presented by the pandemic, these modifications maintain safety asthe highest priority but help ensure the opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport.

The decisions on shifting the competitive seasons for these high contact risk sports came after careful analysis of whether HCAC institutions could successfully fulfill NCAA testing recommendations without drawing vital health resources from their local communities.In addition, the conference feels that as continued scientific and testing gains are made with respect to the CoVid-19 virus, a spring season for the high contact risk sports will be safer for our student-athletes.  Finally, with the recent NCAA waiver allowing for flexibility in how teams seasons are structured, the Council of Presidents felt that students could still have meaningful experiences this fall, even without conference competition.

A handful of other conferences in varying levels of NCAA competition have released similar plans to attempt the “high-risk” sports again in the spring semester.

The HCAC is an NCAA conference that competes at the Division III level. It is a 10-team conference that includes schools from Indiana (6), Ohio (3) and Kentucky (1).