Spring 2021 Opening

Athletics and Recreation

On November 9, 2020, HWS, along with the Liberty League, canceled winter sports competition and championships. The Colleges are members of the Liberty League in the winter sports of basketball, squash and swimming and diving. HWS also canceled competition in ice hockey for the 2020-21 season.

Decisions regarding spring sports will be made in consultation with our conference partners and with the guidance of local, state and federal health officials and the NCAA.

Once student-athletes return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester, HWS Athletics staff will engage them in a phased return to practice, strength and conditioning workouts, player-coach meetings, leadership seminars, holistic athlete series seminars and team building activities. HWS Athletics will be guided by NCAA Sports Science Institute publications on resocialization of collegiate sports, industry standard return to practice and competition guidelines as well as CDC, New York State and Ontario County Public Health guidance.

Any student-athlete who will be joining an intercollegiate team as a new student (i.e. first time on campus during 2020-21 academic year) in the spring semester, is required to:

Prior to arrival at HWS:

  • submit sports medicine online forms found at https://hwsathletics.com/medforms
  • submit a completed medical physical exam (physicals required for newcomers and as per sports medicine staff directive for returners)

Prior to permission to practice:

  • complete a pre-participation exam with HWS Sports Medicine

Prior to competition:

  • virtually attend a HWS Athletics orientation seminar
  • complete and submit compliance forms
  • complete Title IX training

Student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus per New York State and HWS requirements and must test negative in order to practice. Student-athletes will also be required to complete a daily symptoms assessment via an HWS online application. 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 HWS student-athletes return to campus for spring semester athletic practices?

Fall, winter and spring sport student-athletes will return per Resident Education instructions. Unlike in past seasons, winter sports will NOT return early. The exception: Hobart lacrosse student-athletes might return on an approved date per instructions from the head coach.


Will Hobart and William Smith Athletics institute the NCAA resocialization plan for return to practice?

Yes, HWS Athletics will institute considerations for a safe reentry of our student-athletes to our residential campus community and a phased approach to the acclimatization of our student-athletes to physical activity in their sport.

The following will be important considerations for a safe reentry:

  • Negative result of COVID-19 test(s)
  • Confirmation of no high-risk exposure to COVID-19 for at least two weeks before returning to campus
  • Absence of typical COVID-19 symptoms
  • Assessment of risk factors involved in traveling back to campus

Our acclimatization will include the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Staff Education/Student-Athlete At-Home to Move-In
  • Phase 2: Individual and Small Group Training
  • Phase 3: Large Group and Team Training
  • Surveillance COVID-19 testing will be conducted during each phase

We will continue to implement guidance from medical experts to frame our phased approach.


Will student-athletes be tested for COVID-19?

Yes, all students will be tested upon arrival to campus. At a minimum, teams will be surveillance tested throughout the season with additional testing administered as required and/or prudent.


What winter sports did the November cancellation decision impact at HWS?

Hobart sponsors the following winter sports: basketball, ice hockey and squash.
William Smith sponsors the following winter sports: basketball, ice hockey, squash and swimming and diving.


Will HWS consider some level of competition for winter and/or fall sports?

HWS Athletics will continue to monitor the conditions and community impact of COVID-19 with hope that some level of competition, such as scrimmages with local teams, might be possible during the spring semester.


Will HWS compete in spring sports in the spring semester?

With our conference partners, HWS continues to prepare diligently for spring competition. We will monitor the latest guidance from local, state and federal health officials and the NCAA before making a decision early in 2021.


When will spring 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 spring sports competition. We will monitor the latest guidance from local, state and federal health officials and the NCAA before making a decision early in 2021.


What HWS teams compete in the spring?

Hobart sponsors the following spring sports: golf, lacrosse, rowing, sailing and tennis.
William Smith sponsors the following spring sports: golf, lacrosse, rowing, sailing and tennis.


Will Hobart lacrosse compete in the spring?

HWS Athletics administrators will continue to engage with our NEC colleagues to plan for spring competition. We will monitor the latest guidance from local, state and federal health officials and the NCAA before making a decision on competition in early 2021.


For teams not permitted to compete, in what ways will student-athletes engage in athletically related activity?

The Colleges remain committed to providing student-athletes with an experience that includes team practices, strength and conditioning workouts, leadership seminars, holistic athlete series seminars, player-coach meetings, team building activities and other athletically related activities. We will continue to engage our student-athletes with passion and appreciation for the time we get to spend together playing the sports we love.


Will HWS consider permitting lower contact risk sports to compete?

Yes. We will consider all avenues for competition while keeping the health and well-being of our student-athletes and community as our guiding principle.


How many weeks or days can our NCAA Division III teams practice and compete?

Prior to COVID-19, NCAA Division III sports were limited to either 18 weeks (fall sports) or 19 weeks (winter and spring sports) in the playing season. Now, all Division III sports are allowed 114 days for practice and competition.


Will student-athletes have access to athletic training clinics?

Yes, however, student-athletes cannot drop-in for consultation or treatment. Due to occupancy limits and safe social distancing, student-athletes will be required to schedule appointments in the clinics.


If teams are able to compete, how will teams 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 at all times during practice and competition. We will expect our administrators, coaches, staff and student-athletes to be leaders on our campus. Student-athletes must lead the way to reduce the spread of the virus on our campus (e.g., masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfecting equipment).


How will the Colleges ensure student-athlete 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 by encouraging teammates and classmates to adhere to the social code.


If a student-athlete chooses all remote classes are they permitted to practice?

No, since remote learning students are 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 enrolled in at least one course on campus, the student will be permitted to practice and compete. An exception also exists for an originally scheduled in-person or hybrid class that changes during the semester to a remote class. Contact Brian Miller, associate director of athletics & recreation, at bmiller@hws.edu for additional assistance on NCAA compliance.


Will a student-athlete use a season of eligibility if they practice and/or compete?

No. The NCAA, for both Division I and Division III student-athletes, has provided a one-time blanket waiver that allows student-athletes to compete up to the established dates of competition/contest maximums without being charged a season of intercollegiate participation. For more information, contact Brian Miller, associate director of athletics & recreation, at bmiller@hws.edu.


If I don’t return to campus this spring, will a spot be held on the team should I return in the fall of 2021?

Yes, we will respect the student-athlete’s decision in these challenging times to opt-out. We encourage the student-athlete to remain in contact with the head coach.


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. We continue to evaluate opportunities to expand the athletic offerings for students.


Recreation, Intramurals, Fitness and ORAP

Will Bristol Field House be open this spring?

The Colleges will follow the New York State guidelines for opening gyms. Current guidelines allow gyms to be open while requiring capacity limits, face coverings/masks for all participants, social distancing, cleaning protocols and other procedures. More information about Bristol Field House can be found at: https://www.hws.edu/studentlife/wellness.aspx


Who is permitted to use Bristol Field House?

Until a FDA-approved vaccine is administered, only HWS faculty, staff and students will be permitted to use the facility.


Will group fitness classes be offered?

Yes, we anticipate group fitness classes will be offered similar to the fall 2020 semester. We will expand our offerings as permitted. Beginning January 11, 2021, we will offer virtual exercise classes. More information about Bristol Field House can be found at: https://www.hws.edu/studentlife/wellness.aspx


Will there be intramurals this spring?

We anticipate offering outdoor intramural activities that allow for social distancing and masking. Until a FDA-approved vaccine is administered to the campus community, we will not offer indoor team sport intramurals. Once a vaccine is available, we will once again offer indoor intramurals.


Will ORAP trips be scheduled this spring?

Later in the spring, we may consider local trips that allow participants to enjoy the beauty of the Finger Lakes Region while social distancing and wearing masks. The climbing wall will remain closed until further notice. Some outdoor rental equipment (e.g., skis, snowshoes) may be available. Details will be communicated with the HWS Community as more information is available.


Will the Poole Family Sports Dome be available for recreation this spring?

Yes. We anticipate that the dome will be available for open recreation from 9 am – 3 pm Monday through Friday during the 2021 spring semester. Details will be communicated with the HWS Community as more information is available.


Will the Bristol Pool be available for open lap swim during the spring semester?

If local and state guidance permits, we anticipate that Bristol Pool will be available for open lap swim during the spring semester. Details will be communicated with the HWS Community as more information is available.


Will club sports be offered in the spring? Which ones will not?

Club sports will be offered once a FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine is widely administered on campus. Other club organizations that allow for social distancing will remain viable based on student interest and leadership. More information can be found on the Student Activities website.

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