SSU AD makes statement on fall sports

PORTSMOUTH — The NAIA, based on a vote by the Council of Presidents on Tuesday evening, has postponed championships in the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball to the spring semester.

The following is the official statement from Shawnee State University Athletic Director Jeff Hamilton:

“Dear Bears,

It is hard to imagine that August is arriving this weekend and school will be starting in three weeks. We have been preparing for a safe return to campus and a return to competition for our athletes.

I want to give you an update on our current plans for fall sports, as well as SSU Athletics. While competition schedules may be different as we make decisions that keep our community safe, it’s still “game on” for our teams. We will continue to follow local and state guidelines as we continue to do what we do best — tackle the challenges before us as a team and prepare mentally and physically for competition.

While the NAIA has made the decision to move Championships to the spring, Shawnee State will use this fall to prepare for our seasons. SSU and the MSC (Mid-South Conference) are working together to create a safe environment that will allow our student-athletes to return to practices and games as quickly as possible.

I am excited and looking forward to having each of you back on campus working out with your teammates and preparing for future competition!

The NAIA has issued a statement regarding eligibility and is working to ensure the schedule changes won’t have a negative impact on our student-athletes. Those specific details will be coming as they are decided. If you have questions or concerns about your situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, your coach, or our faculty athletics representative, Dr. Phil Blau. We will address each situation on an individual basis and work to keep you on track for graduation and competition.

As we continue to navigate our way through these unprecedented times, I believe perspective is important in maintaining a positive mindset. While each of us decided to ‘play’ for individual reasons, we all share many of the same values: discipline, hard work, competitiveness and enjoyment of the camaraderie that comes with being part of a team.

As an SSU student-athlete, you are a leader on campus. You serve as a role-model by exhibiting the traits of a Champion of Character. These traits are needed now more than ever. Support your teammates and focus on helping one another. We learn so many things through athletics and those lessons and values will help each of you through these difficult times together. Sports will continue to bring us together and bring out the best in all our Bears!”

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