Courtesy of Kate Foultz
Emerson will allow its spring sports teams to compete in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference season, the college announced in a statement on Wednesday.
The four teams impacted by the college’s decision are baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and softball. The tennis teams did not have enough players to compete in the season, according to head coach Aaron Bergeron.
“After careful consideration, the College has decided to support the participation of our Spring athletics programs in the NEWMAC League competition, beginning March 13 along with other participating members of the NEWMAC,” President M. Lee Pelton said in a statement.
Pelton cited improving COVID-19 trends on campus and in the city as a whole, as well as Gov. Baker’s recent lifting of certain restrictions as key points in the assessment.
The season will consist of conference play only and official competitions will begin on March 13. Full schedules will be released shortly.
Athletic Director Pat Nicol could not immediately be reached for comment.
The announcement came two days after the NEWMAC President’s Council, which includes Pelton, released its plan to allow member colleges to compete in the spring sports season. The conference stated that each institution “has the autonomy to determine whether or not to participate” and will allow colleges to opt out altogether or join anytime throughout the season.
Emerson joined Clark University, Springfield College, United States Coast Guard Academy, Wheaton College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute as the sixth NEWMAC member to participate in the spring season.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Wellesley College opted out of the season on Monday. Babson College has yet to reach a decision.
Emerson sports teams will begin practicing tonight in preparation for the spring season.
The college will enforce further restrictions than the NEWMAC announced: athletes will be COVID tested three times a week, are not permitted for overnight travel, have the opportunity to individually opt out of the season at any time, and will continue practicing in groups of seven to eight players. It further stated that Emerson will halt or withdraw teams from competition if these guidelines are not followed.
Fans will not be allowed to attend any home games at Rotch Field this season.