Bethune-Cookman University has announced that there will be no sports for the 2020-2021 academic year. As a result, the school will not participate in high-profile sports like basketball and football within the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
"In the face of a surging COVID-19 spike across much of the country and the State of Florida, we have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time," Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite said.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans will always be our top priority."
University officials have cited COVID-19 as the major reason for their decision. Recently, Bethune-Cookman has put 30 students in quarantine and reported 15 positive tests between October 16 and October 21. Beyond the school's immediate campus, the state of Florida has experienced a recent surge of confirmed coronavirus cases. Today, the state reported more than 300 cases and more than 50 deaths. In total, the state has reported nearly 800,000 cases and lost nearly 20,000 residents.
Despite the rising number of COVID-19 tests, the University of Miami, the University of Florida, Florida State University and a number of other schools have moved forward with fall sports this academic year. However, there is no word when winter sports like basketball will begin.
"We obviously recognize that other institutions may elect to move forward with spring competition. The decision for us, however, was not a complicated one. The risk premium is simply too high and our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. As members of the B-CU family constantly engage in various forms of civic engagement, this decision also protects our community partners as well," Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite said.
The university will move its athletic program to the Southwestern Athletic Conference when it returns in 2021.
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