Alfred University News

Empire 8 announces postponement of Fall 2020 athletics competition

Due to continued challenges presented by COVID-19, Alfred University and fellow members of the Empire 8 Conference will not be engaging in athletic competition this fall. The conference announced this evening that the Empire 8 Presidents Council has voted unanimously to postpone all fall competition in the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.


ALFRED, NY – Due to continued challenges presented by COVID-19, Alfred University and fellow members of the Empire 8 Conference will not be engaging in athletic competition this fall. The conference announced this evening that the Empire 8 Presidents Council has voted unanimously to postpone all fall competition in the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.

“Empire 8 member institutions have been working since the advent of COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of all members of our respective communities, including our student athletes, as we anticipate reopening our campuses this fall,” the conference said in a press release announcing the decision. “However, the continued evolution of the virus has presented significant new challenges for safe competition.”

The press release noted that the Empire 8 is “committed to providing all fall student-athletes with a meaningful conference regular season and championship tournament experience in the spring of 2021, provided it is safe to do so.” While the postponement of the fall sports season is no doubt disappointing to many in the Alfred University community, Mark Zupan, Alfred University president, and Paul Vecchio, athletics director, said that it was the correct decision.

“Athletics has long been a key component of Alfred University's ability to transform student lives and better our world. It is thus with great regret that we have joined with the other colleges and universities in our Empire 8 league to move our Fall sports to the Spring semester. We have opted to do so in light of COVID-19 and keeping the health and safety of our student athletes, coaches, and broader Alfred University community at the fore of our decision-making criteria,” said Zupan, who sits on the Empire 8 Presidents Council.

“It is with deep sadness that we are forced to make the decision to postpone all Fall athletic competitions at this time but the current risks to our students, faculty, staff and community outweigh our opportunity to compete,” Vecchio added.

Vecchio noted the important role student-athletes, coaches and members of the athletics department staff play in promoting a safe and healthy campus environment.

“It is incumbent on each and every one of us in Saxon athletics to take the steps necessary to control and eventually defeat coronavirus and that comes with great personal responsibility,” he said. “We all want to compete again but it will take all of us doing what is required in the coming months. In the meantime we are working to set up as many team opportunities – be it skill or strength and conditioning training – to have our student-athletes prepared to compete for Empire 8 championships when we return to competitive play.”

Added Zupan, “Key lessons that athletics teach are the value of hard work, resilience, teamwork, time management, and leadership. We intend to use this change in our Fall sports plan as an opportunity to reinforce those principles and emerge as a stronger University.”

The Empire 8 stated in its release that any decisions affecting winter sports will be made later.