An NAIA conference that has schools in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa is announcing that it will not postpone fall 2020 sports.
The Heart of America Athletic Conference says it plans on having fall sports as scheduled for the 2020 season.
The league includes schools in northeast Kansas such as Baker University, Benedictine College and MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner, Lori Thomas, has announced that the conference will move forward with fall sports as scheduled for the upcoming season.
The Council of Presidents (COP) met via Zoom on Thursday morning and agreed to keep the start dates as scheduled, with the first day of practice to open on August 15th.
“We have chosen to stay the course for the upcoming season,” stated Thomas. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, and officials continues to remain at the forefront of our planning for the fall.”
The Heart Task Force has been working to develop the “Heart Promise”, which is a document where each institution pledges to prepare athletic events with the same approach. This includes screening before travel, entering playing facility, cleaning and preparation of locker rooms and benches, water options, and action steps if a student-athlete begins to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. The NAIA has developed guidelines and recommendations related to screening and testing which can be found here.
“The Heart desires to be a leader in the NAIA and for us to do anything less than absolutely everything we can to get back on the playing field would cause an adverse effect to those we serve on our campuses,” shared Thomas.
The NAIA announced fall sport modifications in June – which featured delayed start dates and a reduced number of maximum contests for fall sports – and plans to stay on schedule at this time. The updated timeline will allow all fall sports but football to open play on September 5th. Football will open play the following weekend on September 12th.