The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) announced today, following a vote by the conference Presidents’ Council, that the league will suspend all conference athletic competition including conference championships for the 2020 fall semester, with the intention of supporting conference play and championship opportunities in the spring of 2021. No decisions were made about winter sports. 

During the fall, Berry intends to engage in athletically related activities including training, practice, leadership programming and other activities, consistent with federal and state public health authorities, NCAA bylaws and institutional guidelines.

“As each campus has developed their plans for the fall semester, the conference studied together how we might sustain our fall athletic competition,” Berry President, Dr. Stephen Briggs, said. “Unfortunately, intercollegiate athletic play is complicated by the intensity of the direct contact that occurs in most fall sports as well as the geographic distances that define our conference. Given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the southeast, the conference presidents determined there was no effective means to ensure the safety of conference play.”

“The highest priority at each institution is the health and wellbeing of our campus communities, student-athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators,” SAA Commissioner, Jay Gardiner, said. “As the pandemic evolves, the SAA will continue to monitor the situation and intends to resume fall sport competition in early 2021.”

The SAA intends to join other Division III conferences in requesting that the NCAA postpone fall championships until the spring semester of 2021.