Kenyon College, Division III Powerhouse, Postpones Sports in Fall Semester

Kenyon College swimmers. Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

The latest change to the fall sports schedule will take a national power out of the water: Kenyon College will not compete in intercollegiate athletics for the rest of 2020.

The decision came down Tuesday. It’s predicated on president Sean Decatur’s plan for academics, which includes a mix of in-person and remote instruction for the fall semester. Due to the risks of COVID-19, the on-campus population will be limited to first-years, sophomores and incoming transfers. Athletes are not being given priority or special dispensation in that plan. Without upperclassmen on campus, athletics are not feasible.

“We are switching to a model with a reduced population of students on campus,” Decatur wrote. “This will allow us to house all students in singles with adequate spare space for isolation and quarantine. The reduction of the number of students taking in-person classes also reduces demand on classroom spaces, allowing us to optimize where these classes are located (and reducing density in the academic buildings). Having a more robust line-up of remote course offerings increases flexibility for students choosing remote versus in-person. We will delay making a decision about spring semester until later in the fall (when we have more information).”

Practices and workouts will be allowed for on-campus athletes, but competitions won’t take place. Fall sports (cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball) will not be rescheduled. Decisions on when and if winter athletics, such as swimming, will restart is to be determined.

Kenyon College’s swimming program is a dynastic powerhouse in Division III. The Lords have won 34 men’s NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships, the most recent in 2015. The women’s team has won 23 national titles.

From a letter to student-athletes:

“Please understand that athletics remains an important aspect of the Kenyon student experience. For now, however, it will have a different look. The Department of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation is committed to making that experience look and feel as meaningful as possible. Your coaches and staff are here to support you, and will be focused on establishing an environment that allows for our teams to reconvene in creative and purposeful ways. They will use this time to learn and grow in ways that build our community in sport and beyond.”

Kenyon College aims to have all students back for the spring semester, which would allow a return to athletics. It’s is following the NCAA waiver that will not charge student-athletes a year of participation “if their team competes in 50 percent or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition.”

1 comment

  1. Mike Mcgowan

    With the situation. I have no answers. It’s gut instinct at this point.

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