Athletics and Recreation
On July 22, 2020, in consideration of the updated NCAA guidance on return to practice and competition, the growing concern due to the upward trajectory of COVID-19 infection rates across our country and the guiding principle of ensuring the health and well-being of our student-athletes and entire community, HWS canceled fall 2020 intercollegiate athletics competition through December 31, 2020. On July 22, The Liberty League also canceled all League competition and championships until December 31, 2020.
Administrators, coaches, sports medicine staff and strength and conditioning coaches have developed plans to engage student-athletes in small group practices, strength and conditioning workouts, player-coach meetings, leadership seminars and team building activities. HWS Athletics will be guided by NCAA Sport Science Institute publications on resocialization of collegiate sports and return to practice and competition guidelines as well as CDC, Ontario County Public Health and New York State guidance.
Student-athletes will be required to submit sports medicine online information including physicals prior to their arrival (physicals required for newcomers and as per sports medicine directive for returners). In addition, student-athletes will be required to complete a pre-participation exam, compliance forms and virtually attend a HWS Athletics orientation seminar prior to beginning practice. Student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus and must test negative in order to practice. Student-athletes will also be required to complete a daily, electronic symptoms report. Additional COVID-19 tests will be administered to student-athletes throughout the season.
As always, coaches will work with student-athletes directly to ensure they have all the necessary information.
When should students participating in fall sports return to campus?
Initially, our cross country, field hockey, football and soccer student-athletes were informed to return to campus by Aug. 13. With the cancellation of competition in the fall semester, all student-athletes should re-schedule their return per MyHousing and Residential Education instructions and are not required to be on-campus for athletics prior to August 24. Student-athletes who live off campus must arrive on or prior to August 23 and complete COVID-19 testing. Coaches will communicate the first date of practice. There will be no practices prior to August 24, 2020. Students should refer to the HWS Opening website for more information: https://www2.hws.edu/opening/
When should International Fall Sport Student-Athletes arrive?
International student-athletes may arrive to campus as soon as they are able based on their visa and ability to depart their country and enter the United States. Contact Marylyn Uhnak at firstname.lastname@example.org to assist with your return to HWS.
Will International student-athletes and students from “high risk” states as defined by New York State be required to quarantine? And if so, where will they quarantine?
Yes, international and student-athletes from high risk states will be required to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine will be in your respective campus living space, in New York or in a state not on the high risk list. Students should refer to the HWS opening website for additional information: https://www2.hws.edu/opening/
Will Hobart and William Smith Athletics institute the NCAA resocialization plan for return to practice?
Yes, we will institute a phased plan that includes: Phase 0: Pre-Opening Planning; Phase 1: Staff Education/Student-Athlete At-Home to Move-In (move-in to include COVID-19 testing); Phase 2: Individual and Small Group Training Phase for 14 days; Phase 3: Large Group and Team Training Phase; Phase 3T: Testing. We will continue to use the guidance from medical experts to frame our phased-in approach.
Will student-athletes be tested for COVID-19?
Yes, student-athletes will be tested upon arrival to campus and every two weeks during practice.
What happens if a student-athlete tests positive?
Any student who tests positive will move into isolation housing off campus. They will be provided with medical care and meals. Accommodations will be made with their professors through the Dean’s Offices. Our health center staff will conduct symptom checks twice daily and Ontario County Public Health Department will also monitor the student. Students are also certainly welcome to return home, but that would be a decision that they would make in collaboration with their family to best understand and protect all of those involved.
Will coaches, faculty and staff be tested also?
We will encourage them to be tested since they are considered essential employees by New York State, and have close contact with our student population. For their own safety, along with the safety of the college community, testing for these essential employees will be available on campus as well.
Will student-athletes be monitored with daily health checks between COVID testing?
Yes. All HWS students will be required to submit a daily symptom check from an app on their phones. If screening questions are deemed acceptable, the student will receive a green screen. If a question is flagged for further attention from the Health Center for follow-up, the student will receive a red screen. Student-athletes will be required to bring their phones with confirmation of green screens to every athletic facility, practice, training and meeting.
Will HWS compete in the fall semester?
No. On July 22, 2020, HWS and the Liberty League announced the cancellation of fall 2020 competition and championships through December 31, 2020. The announcement was in consideration of the United States upward trajectory of positive COVID-19 cases, the July 16 NCAA standards for return to practice and competition and the guiding principle of ensuring the health and well-being of our student-athletes and community.
Which teams will be impacted by the decision to not compete in the fall semester?
All HWS teams. Fall season teams (e.g., cross country, field hockey, football, soccer) that compete in their traditional season. Winter season teams (e.g., basketball, ice hockey, squash, swimming and diving) have a portion of their competitive season in the fall semester. Some of our spring teams (e.g., golf, rowing, sailing, tennis) compete in both fall and spring. And Hobart lacrosse and William Smith lacrosse have limited competition in the fall with their traditional season in the spring.
Since teams will not compete, what will student-athletes be permitted to do?
Student-athletes will engage in practice, participate in strength & conditioning training sessions (RFK and Bristol Field House will open per approval by New York State), attend player-coach meetings, participate in leadership seminars and team building activities. We will engage our student-athletes in this new environment with even greater passion and appreciation for the time we get to spend together playing the sports we love.
Can teams play pick-up?
Yes, as long as an athletics staff member is present. We all will be responsible for abiding by policies to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and community. It will require discipline for all of us. We will expect our administrators, coaches, staff and student-athletes to be leaders on our campus. Student-athletes must lead the way in protocol (e.g., masking, social distancing, hygiene) behavior on our campus.
Was canceling competition for the fall semester a fiscal decision?
Absolutely not. This was a painful, thoughtful, methodical decision based on the health and well-being of our student-athletes, science and the national landscape for college athletics.
Will student-athletes have access to athletic training clinics?
Yes, student-athletes will be required to schedule appointments due to occupancy limits and safe social distancing in the clinics.
Will team rooms be open?
Team rooms will be open with limited capacity. Masking and social distancing protocols will be in place. Coaches will monitor how many student-athletes are admitted into the locker rooms at one time pre- and post-practice.
Are there proposals to move fall sports to spring?
Yes, the NCAA and applicable committees are reviewing options and considering the feasibility. We anticipate an announcement from the NCAA late summer or early fall.
Will winter sports compete in the fall semester?
No, winter sports are under the same cancellation policy regarding competition.
When will winter sports be informed if they can compete?
We do not have a specific date at this time. HWS will continue to work with our conference colleagues to plan for competition after January 1, 2021. In addition, we will monitor the pandemic and seek guidance from the NCAA, New York State and local medical experts.
Will winter sports teams return to campus early or will their return date change?
At this time, no final decision has been made on winter or spring sports schedules. We will be guided by the NCAA, New York State, conference affiliations and local medical experts. If we are able and depending on competition start date, we anticipate bringing winter teams back shortly after December 25 to prepare for the start of their competitive season after the New Year.
When teams are able to compete, how will they travel to games given social distancing protocols?
Teams will follow all ground transportation and HWS regulations for off-campus travel. Student-athletes and athletics staff will be regularly tested and the use of masks and social distancing will be required during travel to minimize the risk of infection.
Will athletes wear masks when they practice?
Whenever possible athletes will wear masks in practice and will continue to follow the guidance of the medical experts as it relates to wearing masks during participation in sports. Coaches, support staff and event staff will be required to wear masks or face shields at practice.
How will the Colleges ensure student compliance with the social code and with health and safety protocols?
Students who fail to comply with the Handbook of Community Standards and who are deliberately negligent in wearing face coverings and following social distancing guidelines will be sent home. Student-athletes who do not follow health and safety protocols will be removed from their respective team. We will place expectations on our student-athletes to be leaders on our campus to encourage teammates and classmates to adhere to the social code.
Can student-athletes have visitors to campus?
In accordance with the state’s directive, we need to limit the amount of people on campus. As a result, no HWS student is going to be allowed to have friends from other institutions or siblings stay overnight with them in the residence halls. Alums or prospective students and their families can walk around campus, but they are not permitted to enter any buildings at this time. Registering with the Alumni Office, Admissions Office or Campus Safety is necessary upon arrival.
Will Hobart lacrosse begin practicing in the fall?
Yes, Hobart lacrosse will begin practicing in the fall and continue to follow Division I playing and practice season regulations. They will not compete in the fall. Hobart lacrosse and the rest of the Colleges’ intercollegiate athletic teams will follow the NCAA’s resocialization plan beginning with small group training.
If a student-athlete chooses all remote classes are they permitted to practice?
No, since the student is not permitted to be on campus. As long as the student is considered a full time student (exception for a student in their final semester) and taking at least one course on campus, the student will be permitted to practice. Contact Brian Miller, Associate Director of Athletics & Recreation/Director of Compliance, at email@example.com for additional assistance on NCAA compliance.
How would a student-athlete change their classes if they are currently registered in all remote classes?
During open enrollment period, sophomores, juniors or seniors can access their schedules through Peoplesoft and make changes through the end of the first week of classes. The attributes of each course are indicated and student-athletes who wish to practice need to be registered in at least ONE class that is either hybrid or in-person mode of instruction.
Will a student-athlete use a season of eligibility if they practice?
No. Competition triggers use of a season of eligibility.
If a senior decides to play instead of holding on to their year of eligibility and the season is cut short because of a COVID-19 breakout, would the student be granted an extended year of eligibility?
Yes. The NCAA recently announced Division III student-athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no such waiver has been announced for Division I student-athletes (Hobart lacrosse).
If I don’t return to campus this fall, will a spot be held on the team should I return this spring?
Yes, we will respect the student-athlete’s decision in these challenging times. We will encourage the student-athlete to remain in contact with the head coach.
Once students are dismissed for Thanksgiving and finals, what are the expectations for athletes? Do athletes remain on campus?
Student-athletes will also be encouraged to return to their homes or safe location for the winter break. Any student seeking an exception must contact Residential Education. Although schedules of winter and spring sports are to be determined, we anticipate that winter sport student-athletes would travel home for Thanksgiving and return to campus when necessary and as directed by their coaches.
We are aware coaches were furloughed this summer, do you anticipate additional furloughs due to this decision?
While those decisions were difficult and implemented campus-wide, at this time we do not anticipate any additional furloughs for our staff. We have some vacancies yet to fill and hope to move forward with those positions. If/when we return to ‘normal’, we will continue to address staffing as appropriate.
Is HWS considering cutting sports?
No, we are fully committed to our athletics sports module and fundamentally believe that athletics are a complement to the academic experience. HWS student-athletes are 39% of the first year class and approximately 30% of the student body.
Recreation, Intramurals, Fitness and ORAP
Will Bristol Fieldhouse be open this fall?
The Colleges will follow the New York State guidelines for reopening Bristol Field House. We will phase-in a return to activity which will include capacity limits per space. HWS faculty, staff and students will be permitted to use the facility; however, no external users will be permitted until further notice. Group fitness classes will be offered via Zoom and outdoors during the initial phases. More information about Bristol Field House can be found at: https://www.hws.edu/studentlife/wellness.aspx
Will there be Intramurals this fall?
We anticipate we will have intramural activities that allow for social distancing and masking. We will not have team sport intramurals.
Will ORAP trips be scheduled this fall?
We are looking at local trips that allow participants to enjoy the beauty of the Finger Lakes Region while social distancing and wearing masks. More details will be available in the fall. The climbing wall will remain closed until further notice and rental equipment will not be available.
Are club sports going to return in the fall? Which ones will not?
Sports clubs will not be permitted in the fall. Other club organizations that allow for social distancing will remain viable based on student interest and leadership. More information on student activities can be found at https://www.hws.edu/studentlife/activities/.
Will the Bristol Gym pool be open for general swim hours?
The pool will be open to the campus community once lifeguards are hired. There will be no access to the pool locker rooms initially, so please come dressed to swim. A reservation system might be required to book a time. Details will be communicated to the campus community. Only faculty, staff and students will be permitted to use the pool.