Bluffton University football, fall sports delayed until spring

Bluffton also announces guidelines for spectator restrictions
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 10:38 AM EDT
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BLUFFTON, Ohio (WTVG) - The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, which includes Bluffton University, has announced that fall high risk contact sports will be played in the spring 2021.

The affected sports include football, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball.

In a statement, the conference said in part:

"The HCAC is committed to offering engaging athletic experiences for student athletes in these sports with extensive team activities this fall followed by spring competitive seasons. In adjusting to the challenges presented by the pandemic, these modifications place safety in the highest priority but help ensure the opportunity for as much participation as possible in each HCAC sport."

Bluffton plays in NCAA Division III.

On its own, Bluffton announced it will not permit families of students, faculty, staff, or off-campus community guests and visitors to attend home games. Each of the HCAC schools are setting their own policies on visitors based on their local situations.

Bluffton said depending upon testing availability and COVID-19 rates, there may be an opportunity for those sports to hold joint practices or competitions against other teams during the fall, but all conference games will be played in the spring.

Baseball and softball will have longer fall seasons with practices and games, which will count towards season records, although any conference games will not count towards the HCAC standings until the spring.

Cross country, men's and women's golf, and track and field have all been determined to be "medium to low risk" and at this point, there is no change to their seasons except they will have no overnight trips.

Men’s and women’s basketball competitive seasons are still being evaluated. At this time practices and scrimmages will continue as planned per the NCAA guidelines.

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