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ODAC, Ferrum College decide to cancel remainder of spring sports campaigns
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ODAC, Ferrum College decide to cancel remainder of spring sports campaigns

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ODAC, Ferrum College decide to cancel remainder of spring sports campaigns

Photo by STEVEN MARSH

The next scheduled athletic action for W.B. Adams Stadium comes in the fall with the return of Ferrum College’s football and field hockey teams.

FERRUM — The NCAA Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) has decided to cancel the remainder of the 2019-2020 conference athletic campaign in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with this decision, Ferrum College, which competes in the ODAC, has decided to end all athletic competition for the remainder of the spring 2020 season.

The ODAC made its decision Friday after a unanimous vote from its Presidents Council and Board of Directors.

The cancellation by the ODAC includes all regular-season league play and postseason and championship competition, officials with the conference said in a prepared statement.

Ferrum had hoped to return to its fields of play Monday, April 6.

“Decisions of this nature are not easy, and the disappointment felt by our student-athletes, coaches and staff is not lost on anyone,’’ Ferrum Director of Athletics John Sutyak said in a prepared statement.

“However, it has been evident that as the global health threat continues to grow and policies around social distancing become more regulated, completing the spring athletic seasons in this environment has become impossible and irresponsible,’’ Sutyak said.

“This decision (at Ferrum) was made after a great deal of consultation with campus officials, our ODAC peers and the information passed down from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Virginia Department of Health, Sutyak said.

“To all the ODAC student-athletes, coaches, institutional staff and fans, know that this decision did not come lightly. The conference has remained hopeful for competition to resume this spring, but due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, the ODAC is prioritizing the health and well-being of not only those in ODAC and member school circles, but respective local communities by encouraging social distancing,’’ the conference said.

Earlier, the NCAA decided to cancel all national championship postseason play in Divisions I, II and III.

“My heart is heavy in delivering this news. This is not what any of us wanted, nor how we envisioned the 2019-2020 athletic seasons to end, especially for our seniors,’’ Sutyak said.

“My pledge is that we will look to find a way to appropriately honor all of our Class of 2020 spring senior student-athletes in the future when the global pandemic is under control.’’ Sutyak said.

The ODAC said it plans to showcase the achievements of its spring sports athletes over the next few weeks. It plans to present end-of-season awards in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

“...I remind us that all Ferrum Panthers past present and future are resilient, strong and tough as iron. I look forward to us coming back better than ever in the 2020-21 academic year,’’ Sutyak said.

There was one game played before the hiatus.

Ferrum’s baseball team, guided by head coach Ryan Brittle, replaced its Senior Night game with an inter-squad scrimmage where the seniors took on the underclassmen and were victorious, 5-4.

Highlights from the game were shown on ESPN Sports Center. The featured play of the evening was a “hidden ball trick’’ pulled off by seniors Cory Peel (playing shortstop) and Tim Ortega, who was working from the mound. Peel made an unassisted putout on Jake Mumpower for the third out of an early inning.

The Panthers eight seniors and junior Jacob Tomlin comprised Ferrum’s Gold Team.

The underclassmen led 4-2 before the seniors rallied with a run in the sixth and the equalizer in the seventh. The winning run scored on a balk.

As irony would have it, the game was played on Friday the 13th.

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