Slippery Rock has begun altering the schedules of its fall sports after the NCAA Division II governance, and subsequently, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference voted to lower the maximum number of regular-season contests in 2020-21.
As of June 5, should athletics resume at the collegiate level in the fall (which still remains unannounced), all alterations to athletic scheduling at Slippery Rock, both in the fall, winter and spring, result from the financial losses that have been felt across the Division II level as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the NCAA voted on the minimum level of contests required for sport sponsorship and championship selection and the dates of allowed athletic competition.
“All three reductions stemmed from financial struggles Division II institutions are facing due to the pandemic,” Corbin McGuire said on the NCAA website. “Many institutions, per feedback from leadership throughout Division II, will not be able to afford the same level of travel or meet current standards for championships selections or sports sponsorship, even if sports begin as scheduled in the fall term.”
Six of Slippery Rock’s seven fall sports will be impacted by the schedule changes, with cross country the only sport yet to be affected by the changes. But, of course, that is subject to change.
The football team will see its season cut from 11 regular-season games to 10. Slippery Rock will not play its previously scheduled game against Lock Haven, and its conference schedule was changed from 10 to nine games.
The first two games of the season, home against Wayne State (a non-conference game) and away against East Stroudsburg, have been moved back to Sept. 12 and 19, respectively. Both games are currently slated to kick off at 1 p.m.
As of June 5, the NCAA Division II playoffs remain unchanged.
The field hockey team will have its season cut from 18 to 14 games, but every scheduled PSAC game is currently scheduled to be played. However, three non-conference games, against American International on Sept. 12, Coker University on Sept. 19 and Newberry College on Sept. 20, have been canceled.
One more game is required to be canceled to hit that 14 game threshold, but that will be announced at a later date.
Men’s and women’s soccer will both see its seasons cut from 18 games to 14. Women’s soccer in the PSAC will have two games, the second games against two conference opponents, canceled in order to help hit that 14 game schedule. In the case of Slippery Rock, it will only play Clarion and Seton Hill once. Non-conference games against Fairmont State and West Virginian Wesleyan have also been canceled.
The tentative start date for the season is Sept. 16 against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
The men’s soccer team will play all 10 of its scheduled conference games, which means four non-conference must be canceled. Those games will be announced at a later date.
The tennis team will see its singles/double championship tournament and fall dual meets canceled outright. The tentative start date for conference matches is set for March 27, 2021.
The volleyball team will see its schedule cut to just 20 games this season. Two matches, which will be announced at a later date, must be canceled.
As of June 5, the men’s and women’s cross country teams have not had changes to its schedules announced. As such, cross country is the only sport currently unchanged by the NCAA vote.
As the spread of COVID-19 across the nation progresses, further games (if played at all) will be subject to change at the recommendation of the national/state government and local, state and national health organizations.