ATLANTA (WTOC) - UPDATE (6:03 p.m.) The Savannah State Tigers will continue their winter and spring sports seasons as scheduled after The SIAC canceled all conference championships Wednesday.
In a statement, the school says schedules for impacted teams will remain the same. Games scheduled against SIAC opponents will now be counted as non-conference contests.
“While we understand the decision from the conference to cancel championships this spring, we are still disappointed that we will not be able to compete for conference titles,” Athletic Director Opio Mashariki said in the school statement. “However, we will continue with our spring schedules as planned. We are confident that our COVID-19 testing, game day and visiting team protocols will allow us to put our teams in the best position to compete safely. As always, our primary concern is the health and safety of the student-athletes.”
The Tigers are eligible for Division II postseason play, and the school says teams “will focus attention on earning at-large bids to regional NCAA Championships.”
According to Savannah State, the decision to cancel was made by The SIAC President’s Council. SSU Interim President Kimberly Ballard-Washington voted against canceling.
Savannah State says dates and times for upcoming games may be updated in the coming days and weeks due to the conference decision.
ATLANTA (WTOC) - The SIAC, Savannah State’s athletic conference, has canceled all conference games and championships for winter and spring sports due to continued concerns with COVID-19.
The announcement impacts men’s and women’s basketball, tennis, golf, track and field, baseball, and softball.
“Despite the recent downtick with respect to new COVID-19 infections and vaccine developments is encouraging, the stark reality is that new infections remain at levels that are many multiples greater than when our league suspended SIAC championship activities in the first instance last spring,” SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore said in a statement released by the conference. “As a result this decision seeks to balance the importance of providing our student-athletes with participation opportunities, while according such opportunities in manner that also protects their health and safety.”
Teams will be allowed to participate independently in non-SIAC competition and honor any pre-existing contractual obligations.
Savannah State did not have a comment on the matter.
The Tigers have scheduled a number of non-conference opponents for spring sports, in addition to the conference schedules. The women’s basketball team has competed against SIAC opponents this season in games considered non-conference contests.
The Savannah State football team has also scheduled one game against West Alabama in Mobile, AL on March 13. The school’s athletic website also lists a home football game on March 27 against an unnamed opponent.
The conference announcement states no fans will be permitted on SIAC campuses for any sporting event, which has been the policy since sports restarted earlier this year.
“While current SIAC fan attendance restrictions will remain in force, team activities, practice and training opportunities against competition will be determined and defined by each member institution that adhere and observe [NCAA], state, local, and CDC COVID-related public health protocols,” the conference announcement states.