Union Where You Are: Plans for 2020-21

Fall Athletic Competition Update

Publication Date

Dear Union College Community,

We know that many of you have been eager to hear news of our plans for sports competition in the upcoming fall season. When we announced our Union Where You Are plan for this fall, we noted that a decision around our fall-season athletics programs would be announced by July 15. We write today to update you on these plans.

We are sorry to announce that Union has made the very difficult decision to cancel intercollegiate athletics competition for our fall season sports teams. We remain in continued conversation with our ECAC Hockey League and Liberty League partners regarding winter and spring sport seasons and plans for these sports will be announced by September 15.

After exploring a wide range of possible approaches, we have become convinced that the very nature of intercollegiate athletics—including close personal contact, travel to other campuses and hosting large numbers of visitors on our Schenectady campus—is not consistent with the standards and protocols we must follow for the health and safety of all in our campus community and beyond.

Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of many students’ educational experience, and the Union community takes great pride in the accomplishments of our student-athletes: in and out of the classroom, on and off the field. We applaud their commitment to their academic pursuits as true student-athletes balancing demanding schedules and appreciate the passion and dedication they bring to their teams and their sport, as well as the ways in which their academic and athletic pursuits complement and reinforce each other.

This news disappoints all of us, but none more than our student-athletes. We will work hard to support them so that they can spend time with their teammates in the sport(s) they love. While our student-athletes may not experience the upcoming fall season in the traditional way, the Athletics Department will work to provide them with a positive athletic experience on campus. Coaches and staff will engage student-athletes in small-group activities through in-person practices and instruction, strength and conditioning training, leadership training and team-bonding activities. In addition we are engaged in conversations with peer schools regarding the possibility of competition in the spring of ‘21 for our fall sports teams.

More information is available on the FAQ’s here.

We look forward to continuing the implementation of the Union Where You Are model of returning to on-campus and remote learning in the fall and will continue to work closely with all of our students (athletes and non-athletes alike) to provide them with safe, meaningful, engaged and enriching experiences, even under these most extraordinary circumstances. We look forward to the time when our student-athletes can once again safely compete in intercollegiate competition, combining their excellence in athletics with that in the classroom and elsewhere.

Sincerely,

David Harris, President

Jim McLaughlin '93, Director of Athletics

Strom Thacker, Dean of Faculty and VP for Academic Affairs