Morehouse cancels fall sports because of COVID-19

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Morehouse has canceled its fall sports seasons because of COVID-19, the school announced Friday. The Division II HBCU school in Atlanta became among the first college nationwide and apparently the first in the state to make the decision to not participate in NCAA competition this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

» MORE: HBCU's face pandemic's toll

In a letter posted on the athletic department website, school president David Thomas wrote that teams traveling to other schools “cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Thomas also wrote that sporting events held at Morehouse would “invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the same testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”

Morehouse fields two fall sports teams, football and cross country. Thomas said that the school will honor all athletics scholarships for athletes impacted by the decision. The school will seek waivers to help athletes impacted by the decision to gain an extra season of eligibility. Decisions about winter and spring sports have not yet been made.

“I know this news will be most disappointing to our scholar-athletes, especially our seniors,” Thomas wrote. “I can only ask for your understanding and respect for the fact that the College is prioritizing your health and safety ahead of all else.”

Morehouse's decision comes at a time when athletic departments nationwide are continuing with plans to play fall sports schedules, notably football. Division I schools have been cleared to bring back athletes to campus for voluntary workouts, and many have reported double-digit cases of athletes testing positive for COVID-19, prompting calls for schools to suspend those activities.

Morehouse’s 2020 football schedule included home games against Edward Waters, Fort Valley and Albany State. Among the games away from campus included the annual Morehouse-Tuskegee matchup, the neighborhood rivalry matchup against Clark Atlanta and road games against West Georgia and Savannah State.