Carleton announced Friday it is canceling all in-person winter sports competitions through March 15, shelving the season for men’s and women’s teams in basketball, swimming and diving, indoor track and tennis.
The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference already had postponed all competition until January 2021. Carleton became the first league member to cancel in-person winter sports, citing the pandemic’s continuing grip. The school has not decided whether to reschedule any fall or winter sports competitions for the spring.
MIAC Commissioner Dan McKane said Monday the league likely will make a decision on the winter sports schedule within two weeks.
In a news release, Carleton officials said restricting off-campus travel and outside visitors has helped limit COVID-19’s “direct impact’’ on campus this fall. It plans to continue those restrictions for all students, faculty and staff, including those in athletics. The school is considering virtual meets in track and swimming, with teams competing at their own facilities.
In a statement, Carleton athletic director Gerald Young said cancellation was “the right decision.”
“It breaks my heart once again having to inform our student-athletes and coaches that their season has been canceled,” Young said. “This is the third time we’ve had to make this decision, and each time we did so with sadness, because we know how much competition means to our student-athletes. However, the health and safety of the entire campus community is the most important thing.”
The New England Small College Athletic Conference canceled its winter sports schedule Oct. 8, becoming the first Division III conference to do so. The State University of New York Athletic Conference and the Northeast Women’s Hockey League followed suit last week.
Several other leagues have announced they will not begin winter sports until Jan. 1 at the earliest.