CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lesley University President Janet Steinmayer announced on July 15 the university's strategic plans for the fall 2020 semester. After thorough review and consideration for the well-being of our student-athletes and staff, and keeping the integrity of the Lesley University leadership decisions, Lesley Director of Athletics Stephanie Smyrl announced that Lesley Athletics will not be participating in varsity competition for the Fall 2020 semester.
"It is with great disappointment that we made the decision to postpone all fall competition," Stephanie Smyrl commented. "But at the core of all of our decisions is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff."
Additionally, following numerous conversations by the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) President's Council, the NECC has decided to suspend conference play during the Fall 2020 semester due to the health and safety concerns that surround COVID-19, as announced by the conference office today. Assuming the spread of the virus is contained and safety can be assured, conference play will resume during the spring semester. The NECC will now work to adjust schedules so that fall sports are able to have a regular season play and a championship element during the spring semester.
Women's tennis is a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), and although no official decisions or releases have been made as a conference at this time, the Lesley Women's tennis team will not be competing in matches in the Fall 2020 semester.
Lesley University and Lesley Athletics are committed to fostering a positive environment for growth, success, and team unity for our student-athletes despite these difficult decisions. All enrolled Fall Sport student-athletes (men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball, and women's tennis) will be invited to return to our campus for the fall semester to train with their respective teams and coaches, following all guidelines set forth by the NCAA, NECC Conference, Lesley University and the state of Massachusetts.
"Even though the season will look different, we will continue to explore ways we can engage with our student-athletes so we can all remain connected to the Lynx Family," Smyrl commented. "We look forward to when our Lynx can return to play, and cheer you on from the sidelines."
Lesley University and the NECC's decision to suspend all Fall 2020 varsity competition also impacts the start dates for men's and women's basketball, including practice and game schedules, which will be altered to a second semester start date. The adjusted schedules for fall and winter sports have not yet been determined.
In the meantime, the Lesley Athletics department will continue to focus on plans for the 2020–21 athletic season with the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff as the foremost priority.