Angelina College Suspends All Sports Until Fall 2021
Just a few weeks after announcing the suspension of the upcoming men's and women's soccer seasons, Angelina College officials announced on Monday that all intercollegiate athletic programs are suspended for upcoming 2020-2021 seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This announcement follows the NJCAA’s decision to move all fall sports to the spring of 2021. AC officials considered a spring restart, but several factors precluded doing so safely, according to president Dr. Michael Simon.
“Although I wanted to see our student-athletes compete as much as anyone else did, the primary consideration during this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of student athletes and employees,” Simon said. “The expert guidance is clear that the nature of most athletic competition increases risks for everyone involved. At AC, we bring students to Lufkin from throughout the United States and send them to compete in areas currently struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which increases their chances of exposure and the potential for community spread of the disease in Angelina County.”
As major collegiate powerhouses with substantially more resources have chosen to move – or shutter entirely – athletics programs, mounting evidence indicated there are still far too many health and financial risks associated with intercollegiate competition. Simon said he reached out to presidents at other Texas universities and colleges to learn how they were planning for safe competition, but none had plans that were substantially different from the plans implemented at institutions that have already suffered outbreaks among college athletes.
“I spoke with every president I could reach and asked, ‘What protocols do we have that major programs don’t have?’ Nearly every team trying to bring back athletes early suffered outbreaks. There simply is not a means of ensuring student safety in any other way than suspending competition for the time being.”
Simon added the college is working toward allocating funds to ensure those athletes currently on scholarship are still able to remain enrolled at AC if they choose to do so.
Athletic director Guy Davis, who has been with AC for more than 40 years, said Monday’s decision is one of the toughest he’s made in his career.
“Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about Angelina College and our athletics programs,” Davis said. “I don’t think we had any choice when it came to protecting our student-athletes, and that’s our primary responsibility to those families.”
“No one is hurting any more than I am right now, but for the benefit of our student-athletes, this was the right and only choice at this time considering the pandemic situation.”
Both Simon and Davis stated the college is already looking ahead to fielding teams beginning in the fall of 2021.