It’s not a high-profile conference with football programs vying for national championships, but the ASUN Conference in the NCAA scrapped several fall sports officially on Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic, impacting thousands of student athletes and several Florida colleges.
The move was announced Friday after the ASUN President’s Council voted to cancel the fall sports slate.
“Obviously this is a huge disappointment,” said ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “Anyone who follows college sports understands the dynamics that brought us to this decision, but that doesn’t mean we like it. My feelings right now? COVID stinks. If you weren’t putting my words into a public release, I might put it another way.”
The ASUN Conference has nine colleges in the southern region of the United States with four of those schools in Florida. The Sunshine State colleges include Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Stetson University.
The ASUN fall sports immediately canceled include cross country, soccer and volleyball programs.
The ASUN’s most high-profile sport is basketball for men’s and women’s programs as the annual conference champion school gets entry into the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or “March Madness.” ASUN officials have held off on making a decision on the basketball programs along with men’s and women’s indoor track competitions.
“We will make every effort to provide a quality competitive experience for our fall student-athletes during the spring semester,” Gumbart said. “We’re not in the position today to guarantee it will happen, but we can promise to make every effort to get there.
“We owe that to our student-athletes, our athletic departments and our institutions,” Gumbart said. “Lastly, I’ll share that I’m very proud of the way the entire ASUN family participated in the discussions over the past few months, including our students, athletic staff, administrators and presidents.”
While a few fall sports have been canceled, ASUN officials agreed to allow member colleges to continue training and practice routines as long as the schools remain in line with the NCAA, local and state COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
The ASUN is among the latest NCAA Division 1 conferences to scrap fall competitions due to the pandemic. The PAC 12 and Big 10 scrapped their football schedules this week and multiple other conferences in all divisions have pulled the plug on fall sports programs across the country.