Morehouse cancels soccer season over concerns about coronavirus

Illustration for article titled Morehouse cancels soccer season due to coronavirus concerns

Morehouse College announced that the school is choosing the health of its students instead of dollars. The school is closing all fall sports.

The Maroon Tigers compete in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference under NCAA Division II and were scheduled to open their soccer season against Edward Water College on September 5.

“Like all decisions we made regarding COVID-19, this one was difficult but was made with the health and well-being of our students and the community in mind,” Morehouse College President David A. Thomas said Friday. . . “It continues my intention to maintain a safe campus in the hope that our students can return in August. Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking the guidelines of social distancing still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sports events also invite people to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff. “

The school will continue to award athletic scholarships for fall sports.

Historically Black College in Atlanta announced in May that the school would have a round of permits, pay cuts, and layoffs that would affect the entire campus. The president announced that he would take a 25 percent pay cut. Between June 1 and December 31, 2021, there are 194 full-time employees facing salary reductions. Teachers who earn more than $ 55,000 per year will see their stadium wages cut from 10 to 15 percent. The measures are expected to save the university $ 3.4M.

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The school is recovering from a budget deficit in September 2019 and with the loss of sports in the fall it presents an interesting setup for the university monetarily. Netflix co-founders Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin announced a tripartite donation of 120 million to Morehouse, Spelman, United Negro College Fund donation this month.

“This is a crucial time for all of higher education,” Thomas said in May when the changes were announced. “Those who can adapt to this new normal will prosper, while those who continue to look back will find it difficult to survive. Even before the Great Recession, the business model of most higher education institutions has come under pressure as the student demographics, rising costs, and the many options technology has provided students on how to learn. ”

At the Division III level, Bowdoin College has also canceled all of its fall sports, including soccer. For the first time in 30 years, the Southern Heritage Classic between Jackson State and Tennessee State was canceled. Three other classic HBCU games for the Fall 2020 season have also been canceled due to COVID-19 precautions.

After receiving a $ 13 million donation from Oprah Winfrey in October, Morehouse is likely to be in a better financial position than many other HBCUs, and the President’s announcement is likely to be based on public health precautions for the campus of Morehouse. Morehouse is not a school that generates a lot of football revenue, and it certainly won’t without fans this year, so the decision specifically makes sense now, during the summer months, to scrap all sports in the fall.