OLLU announces that Red River Conference will move fall sports to spring amid COVID-19 concerns
The presidents of Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) member institutions, including OLLU President Dr. Diane E. Melby, have decided to move traditional fall conference competition athletics to the spring session of 2021 to support the safety and welfare of student-athletes and all students on campus. The resolution was made by the group on a conference call on Wednesday as the cases of COVID-19 infections continue to rise in the RRAC states of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
The move pushes the typical RRAC fall competition of men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball to at least January. A decision on the start dates of the 2020-2021 men’s and women’s basketball seasons will be made at a later date. Traditional spring sports – golf, tennis, track and field, cheer/dance, softball and baseball – are on schedule for a normal return in 2021.
RRAC administrators and athletic directors will begin work on adjusting soccer and volleyball schedules to account for the changes. New RRAC tournament dates for those sports will be determined later.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, the RRAC presidents also stated that they will continue to evaluate the situation and protocols necessary for the well-being of student-athletes. Conference administrators and athletic trainers will continue to refine a return to play and gameday procedures for the date when conference contests resume.
Assistant Athletic Director Bryan Aughney commented, “As the COVID-19 pandemic situation is fluid, one thing we must ensure is the safety and well being of our student-athletes. As information comes out, we have to keep our students’ best interests in mind; and while this decision may not be ideal for some, it still allows for conference competition. That is our goal, to give our student-athletes the best experience we can, even given the current situation that surrounds us all.”
OLLU plans to move forward with team practices this fall. Training and conditioning will be allowed. At the current time, OLLU expects all teams to play their full conference schedules during the spring 2021 season.