Empty stands in Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The upcoming season for fall sports has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NARA HWANG/STATESMAN FILE

The uncertainty surrounding Stony Brook’s fall sports is over.

The America East has postponed fall sports to the spring, according to a press release. The announcement comes along with the Colonial Athletic Association announcing they will suspend football competition in the fall. 

Stony Brook athletes will keep their scholarships and will not lose any eligibility due to the postponed season.

“This was not an easy conclusion for our membership to reach but it was made with care and diligence and with health and safety as the highest priority,” America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen said. “For the last several months, we have been working extensively with our membership to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing health and safety protocols, revising schedules and creating contingency plans.” 

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“We have remained optimistic that we could safely conduct a fall sports season, however, there are several external factors outside of our institutions’ control that will limit and disrupt our ability to deliver our student-athletes an experience they deserve,” Huchthausen said. “While several outstanding issues and questions remain, we are hopeful that creative thinking and solutions will emerge in concert with improved measures to reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 as the academic year unfolds.”

The announcement means that Stony Brook men’s and women’s soccer, cross country and volleyball teams will potentially compete with other spring sports like Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, Baseball and Softball next semester. This could cause difficulties in scheduling and allocating field time across campus.

“Although it was our hope to compete this fall, circumstances beyond our control have necessitated an alternate path,” Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said in a press release.”I support the decision, and welcome the clarity that it provides to our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We will work closely with our conferences as they monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, with the health and wellness of our student-athletes being our top priority.”

Many other conferences have canceled their fall sports seasons as well, including the Patriot League, Ivy League and several Division II and Division III conferences. The concern displayed by these conferences indicate many lack confidence that the spread of COVID-19 will be controlled before the academic year begins. This caution rings especially true given the recent spikes in cases across the country. 

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Without revenue from any fall sports, Stony Brook Athletics will face financial risks and logistical risks, as the program may have to get creative in order to fit most of the school’s sports in the spring. That is, if circumstances change and the school can attempt to host sports in the spring at all.

It appears that Stony Brook’s athletic fields will be all too quiet when students return to class in the fall. 

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