Division III NESCAC Follows Ivy League’s Lead and Cancels Fall Sports For Upcoming School Year

Williams senior Molly Craig. Photo Courtesy: Williams College Athletics

NESCAC announces cancellation of fall sports.

After the Ivy League made a monumental decision to cancel its fall sports season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the question was raised if other major conferences would follow suit and do the same. In a statement released Friday, the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced it would be cancelling fall sports competition for this upcoming semester.

This decision does not necessarily impact swimming specifically, as most NESCAC schools don’t start official practice until early November, but this decision doesn’t mean winter sports will be unaffected. If the virus is not under control later on in the semester, then it is very possible that winter sports will meet the same fate. The NESCAC is generally regarded as the Ivy League of Division III, so it comes as no surprise that this decision comes so quickly after the Ivy’s decision.

The NESCAC is one of the strongest swimming conferences in Division III, led by Williams College, who finished fourth at the 2019 NCAA Division III championships on the women’s side. Williams had already announced it would be cancelling fall sports this coming semester due to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the United States.

NESCAC Members:

  • Amherst College
  • Bates College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Colby College
  • Connecticut College
  • Hamilton College
  • Middlebury College
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College

Full Statement From NESCAC:


NESCAC Swimmers from Bates & Bowdoin. Photo Courtesy: Brian Beard/Creative Image Photography

Over the last several months, NESCAC institutions have been focused on the safe reopening of their campuses this fall. Member institutions have recently announced plans for the upcoming year, with the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and the broader community the foremost concern.

In keeping with public health guidance, each of our institutions has put in place physical distancing protocols, limits on travel on and off campus, and limits on the size of on-campus gatherings. Consistent with these policies, the NESCAC Presidents have decided unanimously, though with great reluctance, that NESCAC conference competition for fall sports must be canceled for fall 2020. 

Athletics remains an important part of the experience for our students. Conference members will continue to work together to seek creative ways to provide meaningful athletic opportunities for our students during the upcoming academic year. To that end, the Presidents have agreed to modify some NESCAC rules to enable coaches and students to engage in practice and training opportunities outside the traditional season, in accordance with the rules of each member institution and local health directives.

As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to monitor changing federal, state, and local guidance, and we will consult with each other as well as public health authorities and the NCAA about the possibility of further changes to NESCAC rules.

We will provide updates as information becomes available.


  1. Miranda Emaus

    Well football will be interesting in 5 ft of snow. Lol

  2. Robert Reiser

    will be the most successful Bowdoin football season in over 100 years

    • Carol Inman Greeman

      Jessica Middleton Newman I saw that. I have been assuming that there would not be a real “season” this year, but as long as they can train I am okay with it, I guess. It sucks to lose a whole year of competition but understand why. Hopefully they figure out that virtual meets are better than nothing and modify their rules because of extenuating circumstances.

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