Athletics and Recreation
Update: On March 1, HWS Athletics announced that all nine of the Colleges’ spring sports will return to intercollegiate competition this season. The FAQs reflect this updated information.
On November 9, 2020, HWS, along with the Liberty League, canceled winter sports competition and championships to protect the health and well-being of HWS student-athletes, the larger campus and Geneva communities from the effects of COVID-19. 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.
In July, in consideration of the 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 competition through December 31, 2020. At the same time, the Liberty League also canceled all League competition and championships until December 31, 2020.
During the 2020 fall semester, HWS Athletics staff engaged with student-athletes in a phased return to practice, strength and conditioning workouts, player-coach meetings, leadership seminars, holistic athlete series seminars and team building activities. In the 2021 spring semester, we will re-engage with our student-athletes in a similar manner with hopes of also returning to competition.
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 a 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.
What are HWS Athletics guiding principles to return to competition?
HWS Athletics is committed to the following guiding principles:
- The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff, HWS community, Geneva community and our global community are paramount to our decisions.
- Science, public health guidance and medical experts inform our decisions.
- Our work is coordinated with our colleagues in our membership conferences.
- We collaborate with other campus and Geneva-area experts to assist us with our planning and implementation.
- Given the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we streamline our communication process to adjust protocols and procedures as needed to ensure we implement the most up-to-date guidance.
What are the transmission risk classifications of HWS Sports?
|Spring Sports||NCAA Transmission Risk||New York Transmission Risk|
|Sailing||NA (HWS = Intermediate)||Low-Moderate|
|Winter Sports||NCAA Transmission Risk||New York Transmission Risk|
|Swimming & Diving||Low||Low-Moderate|
|Squash||NA (HWS = High)||Moderate|
|Fall Sports||NCAA Transmission Risk||New York Transmission Risk|
What guidance has the NCAA provided regarding the return to practice and competition?
The NCAA Sports Science Institute has released six publications on resocialization of collegiate sport. The most current publication for staff and student-athletes provides guidance on the following: Risk and Mitigating Risk of Transmission of COVID-19, Return to Activity Considerations, Resumption of Activities/Exercise After Positive Tests, Testing Methodologies and Strategies, Sports Transmission Risk, Team Travel, Isolation and Quarantine, Game Officials, Masking, Opting-Out and Considerations Related to the Discontinuation of Athletics.
Why did HWS permit spring sports to compete against outside competition?
On January 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Health released an updated Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that high risk sports were authorized to resume practice and competition beginning on February 1. With NYS decision on high school sports, the Sports Science Institute’s guidance, and successful winter sport competition by area New York colleges and universities, coupled with stringent symptom monitoring, testing strategies, game day protocols and team travel requirements, HWS along with the our conference partners made the decision to compete this spring.
When will competition begin for spring sports?
Hobart lacrosse will play at home against Mount St. Mary’s on March 6, 2021. All other HWS spring sports will begin on or after March 20.
When was the last game for Hobart lacrosse?
Hobart lacrosse last competed on March 7, 2020. The Statesmen beat Binghamton University 16-9. In a projected promising season, Hobart lacrosse’s overall record was 4-1.
Will Hobart play Cornell and/or Syracuse?
At this time, the schedule is a NEC-focused scheduled. Hobart values our long-standing rivalries with Cornell and Syracuse and looks forward to future opportunities to compete.
What are the expectations of student-athletes and athletics staff as they relate to COVID-19?
Student-athletes and staff are expected to:
- complete a daily wellness assessment,
- stay home if feel sick,
- wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth,
- wash hands often practice physical distancing,
- clean frequently touched surfaces daily,
- shower after practice,
- bring their own full water bottle to practice,
- have their own equipment/clothing/towels/water bottles/toiletry items,
- do not gather in large groups/attend large gatherings, and
- other campus-wide COVID-19 health practices.
In addition, HWS tests student-athletes for SARS-CoV-2 per their transmission risk of their sport.
Can a student-athlete opt-out of practice and/or competition?
Yes. Student-athletes can opt-out at any time with full respect for their decision.
Explain the COVID-19 testing strategy for HWS student-athletes.
Testing strategies identify positive cases, isolate those who test positive and quarantine those people who have been a high-risk contact. The testing strategy then reduces the spread of the coronavirus in the community. HWS Athletics testing strategies align with institutional, Ontario County, New York State, CDC and NCAA SSI guidance. Where strategies have variance, HWS has chosen the more robust testing strategy.
HWS tests twenty-five percent of the roster of student-athletes in intermediate and high transmission risk sports every other week during the practice segment. During competition, all student-athletes and staff will be PCR-tested within 72 hours before the competition and rapid antigen tested on the day of or day before the contest. HWS tests low risk sport student-athletes as part of campus-wide testing and during competition will test as per the intermediate/high risk sports strategy.
Is there a return to play protocol for a student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19?
Yes, HWS sports medicine staff work closely with student-athletes who have completed isolation requirements. When an athlete has completed isolation protocol and is asymptomatic, the individual will undergo a follow-up medical examination by a provider at the student health center. Based on clinical findings, there will be consideration for further cardiac and pulmonary consultation. If no further evaluation is required, the athlete will begin a graduated exercise progression.
If a team has a positive test result, will the contest be canceled?
Contact tracing by HWS Hubbs Health Center, in cooperation with Ontario County, will determine the impact on the team and the contest. At any time during the season, if HWS deems it is unsafe for student-athletes, staff or the HWS community to compete, competition will be canceled. Our opponents could also cancel contests.
Explain the team travel considerations as they relate to the pandemic.
All travel party members will be COVID-19 tested, temperature checked and must have completed their daily wellness assessment prior to departure from campus. The team is required to wear cloth masks at all times. Travelers must remain with the team at all times and it will be impermissible to depart with family, alums, or friends. Meals will be grab-and-go style. Meals will be outside, in a hotel room or in an acceptable large indoor location. All seating assignments in ground transportation vehicles will require social distance.
Will spectators be permitted at contests?
At this time, as we focus our efforts on the health and safety of returning our student-athletes to competition, spectators are not permitted at HWS home contests. All Hobart lacrosse and William Smith lacrosse games will be livestreamed. We will make every attempt to livestream other HWS spring sports as the venue, equipment and staffing permit. When we deem it safe, we will announce our updated policy for spectators.
With this updated announcement, what is the status of competition for fall and/or winter sports?
Fall and/or winter competition is still to be determined.
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 early with the date communicated to the team via the head coach. Student-athletes should refer to the HWS opening website for additional information.
Will international student-athletes and student-athletes coming from outside of the state of New York be required to quarantine?
Please refer to the general Spring 2021 page for return dates, testing protocols and quarantine requirements. This page will be updated as conditions evolve and all students will receive additional information in early January regarding the plans for returning to campus.
Will student-athletes who are residents of New York be required to quarantine upon arrival to campus?
Student-athletes who are residents of or residing in New York State prior to their arrival on campus will be required to quarantine immediately following their initial HWS issued COVID-19 test through the receipt of a negative test result. If a student tests positive, they will isolate per Ontario County protocol. Students should refer to the HWS Opening website for more information.
When should spring sport international student-athletes arrive in Geneva?
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 email@example.com to assist with your return to HWS.
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 the 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.
Will HWS compete in winter sports in the spring semester?
In November, HWS, along with our conference partners, announced the cancellation of winter sports competition and championships in winter sports for the 2020-21 season. The announcement was made in order to protect the health and well-being of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ student-athletes and the greater community from the effects of COVID-19.
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 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. We encourage everyone to join us in wearing a mask, social distancing and being diligent with hand hygiene.
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 activity. 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.
Was canceling competition for the winter semester a fiscal decision?
Absolutely not. This was a painful, thoughtful and methodical decision based on the health and well-being of our student-athletes and community. We encourage everyone to join us in wearing a face covering, maintaining social distance and being diligent with hand hygiene.
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 or face shields 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 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 will 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 here.
Who is permitted to use Bristol Field House?
HWS faculty, staff and students will be permitted to use the facility; however, no external users will be permitted until further notice.
Will group fitness classes be offered?
A. Yes, we anticipate group fitness classes will be offered similar to the 2020 fall 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 here.
Will there be intramurals this spring?
We anticipate offering outdoor intramural activities that allow for social distancing and masking. We will not offer indoor team sport intramurals.
Will ORAP trips be scheduled this spring?
Later this 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?
Sports clubs will not be permitted in the spring. Other club organizations that allow for social distancing will remain viable based on student interest and leadership. For more information on student activities, click here.