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SUNY Canton Looks To Play Hoops, Hockey In Spring

Canton, NY – The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Presidents' Council today announced plans for winter sports and a timeline for making final decisions regarding fall and spring sports.

Ultimately, presidents determined the best course of action is to forego a traditional conference basketball schedule this year while allowing schools autonomy to play games at their own discretion.

The SUNY Canton men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s hockey teams remain open to scheduling competition during the spring semester when and if it is deemed safe to do so.

“We look forward to continuing to provide our student-athletes a positive and meaningful experience during the spring semester,” Athletic Director Randy B. Sieminski said. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and the local community remain our primary concern.”

When the NAC Presidents’ Council met in November, presidents offered support for tentative plans to conduct winter sports (men's and women's basketball and swimming & diving) during the spring semester, but opted to wait until January to make a final decision. Due to the state of the pandemic at this time, presidents determined that it is not feasible to conduct a NAC regular or postseason basketball schedule with members spread across three states.

Last fall, the conference developed tentative plans to begin conference basketball games January 29, 2021. That date was then pushed back after several institutions adjusted dates for the start of second semester. A variety of creative schedule options were crafted in the hopes that NAC basketball could safely be conducted.

The health and safety of student athletes, coaches, staff, and local communities remains a priority. As such, members agreed to adopt common safety practices for competition in addition to adhering to NCAA guidelines, and will prioritize fellow conference schools when developing independent competition schedules.

"We appreciate the hard work done by athletics administrators, athletic trainers, and conference office staff to develop schedule options and safety protocols with respect to contesting a conference basketball season," said Presidents' Council Chair Ray Rice, also the president at UMaine-Presque Isle. "The Council ultimately determined the safest course of action is to allow each school to provide competitive opportunities for student athletes in a way that works best for each campus."

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