ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Ouachita Baptist University will suspend all athletics competition through Dec. 31, 2020, along with other universities in the Great American Conference (GAC).
The GAC announced today that conference athletic directors and presidents unanimously voted to suspend all competition through Dec. 31 following guidance issued recently by the NCAA for intercollegiate sports nationwide.
“In my more than 40 years at Ouachita as director of athletics, a coach and a student-athlete, what we are announcing today was one of the most challenging decisions I have had to recommend,” said David Sharp, Ouachita’s director of athletics. “It hurts me deeply, knowing the passion our student-athletes have for their respective sports, along with the commitment and time our coaches invest into their players and programs. However, our top priority is the health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes and coaching staff. We must win this battle to prepare for the future.”
All of Ouachita’s sports teams are affected, including baseball, men’s & women’s basketball, women’s cross country, football, men’s & women’s soccer, softball, men’s & women’s swimming, men’s & women’s tennis, women’s track & field and men’s wrestling.
“We know this is tremendously disappointing for our student-athletes – and for their families, our coaches and athletics staff, the campus community, and all who support the Ouachita Tigers,” added Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president. “The GAC presidents have met frequently by Zoom since the spring to plan for this academic year; however, with last week’s requirements from the NCAA, the conference saw no feasible pathway forward with competition this fall.”
Teams will be able to continue activities that comply with the recent directive issued by the NCAA Board of Governors. These athletically related activities include in-season and out-of-season practices, weight training, team meetings and voluntary workouts led by staff or in institutional facilities.
“While COVID-19 has created many challenges and disappointments, we are committed to our student-athletes having the best possible Ouachita experience this fall, including making progress toward their academic degrees,” Sells added. “I’m so proud of how our student-athletes and coaches have responded since March, and I know that the commitment and character that defines a Ouachita Tiger will continue to exemplify their efforts and attitudes.”
Ouachita will begin on-campus classes Monday, Aug. 17, following extensive preparation by university administration, faculty and staff to develop and implement guidelines for campus in light of COVID-19. For more on Ouachita’s preparations, see obu.edu/coronavirus.
See the Great American Conference announcement at: https://greatamericanconference.com/news/2020/8/14/thegac-to-suspend-all-sports-competition-through-december-31.aspx