Amherst, Middlebury Suspend Spring Sports Amid Coronavirus Concerns


Amherst College is suspending all spring sports games — including those scheduled for its nationally ranked men’s and women’s lacrosse teams — due to concerns about the new coronavirus.

The decision was made in conjunction with the announcement Tuesday that the school is canceling in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester and requiring students to vacate the campus by March 16.

“This does not mean the spring season is over entirely,” Caroline Hanna, director of media communications at Amherst, wrote in a statement emailed to US Lacrosse Magazine. “Games will resume if and when classes resume on campus.”

Inside Lacrosse first reported the news about the spring sports suspension Tuesday.

The Amherst men’s team is ranked No. 5 in the latest Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Men’s Top 20. The Mammoths will play at Endicott as scheduled Tuesday before the suspension takes effect. The women’s team is No. 10 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Women’s Top 20 and will host Williams on Wednesday before shutting down.

“To say this was a very, very difficult decision is an understatement,” Hanna wrote. “We know there will be many members of our community who will be heartbroken, chief among them our own student athletes and their families. We sincerely regret any disappointment this causes them.”

Although there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 on campus, Amherst is among several colleges moving to remote learning as a precautionary measure. It was the first known school to suspend spring sports indefinitely.

Middlebury announced Tuesday afternoon a similar measure, suspending all spring athletic activities until further notice. The Panthers women’s lacrosse team, the defending NCAA champion, is ranked No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Top 20. The men’s team broke into the top 20 this week. Both are unbeaten.

Other colleges with varsity lacrosse programs that have canceled or suspended in-person classes, but as of Tuesday had not announced any additional actions related to athletics, include Cal, Columbia, Harvard, Hofstra, Ohio State, Princeton and Stanford.

Related to lacrosse:

  • Kean University in New Jersey canceled out-of-state travel for spring break, including the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams’ planned trips to California for games at Whittier and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, respectively.

  • Hartwick College announced Monday that it was canceling men’s and women’s lacrosse games through next week.

  • Boston University postponed Saturday’s men’s game against Bucknell due to several players being treated for illnesses. The players were tested for the coronavirus, and those results came back negative. The women’s team also has several players who are ill and the university canceled Monday’s game at Jacksonville.

  • The women’s lacrosse​ game scheduled for Sunday between Stony Brook and USC in Los Angeles was canceled, according to an official statement from USC. The teams will seek a postponement date.

  • Tufts president Tony Monaco announced Tuesday in a statement that spring sports are canceled for the rest of the semester. 

  • The women’s lacrosse​ game scheduled for Wednesday between New Hampshire and Harvard has been postponed. A new date and time is yet to be determined.

Statement from Amherst College

“Amherst spring team sports will compete through Wednesday, March 11, and winter athletes will finish out their seasons. Spring team games will then be cancelled until the situation with COVID-19 becomes clearer. This does not mean the spring season is over entirely. Games will resume if and when classes resume on campus. The College will continue to monitor the outbreak and make decisions about whether or not it makes sense to restart classes on campus throughout the next couple of months. All of these choices will be based on what is in the best interests of our students and our broader community. Their health and well-being are paramount.

“To say this was a very, very difficult decision is an understatement. The Amherst Athletics program is one of the best Division III programs in the nation, and a vast part of the identity of the College. We know there will be many members of our community who will be heartbroken, chief among them our own student athletes and their families. We sincerely regret any disappointment this causes them, our dedicated coaches and Athletics staff, alumni, fans and the entire Amherst community.”

Caroline Hanna
Director of Media Communications
Amherst College

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