On Feb. 23, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced along with the State University of New York Athletic Conference that intercollegiate athletic competition within SUNY will resume March 20.
This means that SUNY Oneonta's spring student athletes — those on the college's track & field, baseball, softball, lacrosse and tennis teams — will once again be able to compete against other schools.
The approval is based upon a detailed collaborative plan that was developed by more than 50 athletic administrators, coaches and sports information directors and meets guidance provided by SUNY, the NCAA, and state and local departments of health. Approval is contingent upon the continued positive trajectory of the pandemic and the state of the COVID-19 virus on member campuses.
SUNY's mandate to test all students and campus personnel on a weekly basis strongly enhances the ability to conduct intercollegiate athletics safely and actually exceeds testing recommendations by the NCAA.
The SUNYAC will employ a divisional East-West model for its conference schedule in most sports to reduce travel. These schedules will be announced in the near future. For now, spectators will not be permitted to attend competitions, but fan attendance will be reevaluated periodically as the pandemic environment continues to improve.
SUNY Oneonta’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tracey Ranieri, who also oversees the college’s COVID testing center, said this is an exciting day for student athletes and their coaches.
"College athletics is uplifting to many, and this will be a real shot in the arm for our campus community,” she said. “I am so excited to get started, knowing that our students have been preparing for over a year to get back to what they love: a supportive team and competitive environment.”
Acting President Dennis Craig said he is confident that Oneonta’s athletic teams will adhere to protocols and have a safe, successful spring season.
“Resuming intercollegiate athletic competition is a sign that we, as a SUNY system, are getting this right,” he said. “With our COVID-19 infection rate remaining low and a dedication to keep it there, it makes sense that we would let our student athletes get back to the business of competing. My sincerest thanks go to our coaches and athletics staff, who have been on the front lines running our COVID testing center and will continue to play an important role with prevention efforts.”
Interim Vice President for Student Development Bernadette Tiapo said she is pleased with the news, as well.
“Being able to compete again will give our student athletes a sense of purpose and is a sign of good things to come,” she said. “Our entire campus community is working diligently to keep our infection rate down, and this is one small reward. I know we can keep up the good work.”
In the coming week, Oneonta Athletics will begin posting spring sports schedules. Visit www.oneontaathletics.com for live statistics and streaming of home competitions.
The SUNYAC is an NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletic conference featuring 10 full-member SUNY institutions and one affiliate that sponsors 20 championships (9 men’s, 11 women’s). More than 4500 student-athletes compete in the SUNYAC.
For more information, visit https://www.suny.edu/suny-news/press-releases/2-21/2-23-21/spring-sports.html.