The North Atlantic Conference, home to the Northern Vermont University sports teams in Johnson and Lyndon, has canceled all fall athletics.

Many colleges are canceling fall sports because of health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has become clear that, in the best interest of student athletes, staff and campus communities, a traditional North Atlantic Conference experience will not be possible this fall,” the presidents and athletic administrators of all 12 schools in the conference wrote in a statement issued last week.

Fall athletics have also been canceled at the University of Vermont, St. Michael’s College, Norwich University and Middlebury College

“We understand this is difficult news to hear, though not unexpected given the circumstances,” NVU-Johnson said in a statement. “Not unlike the decision made this past spring, today’s decision was difficult and not taken lightly.”

Fall sports are men’s and women’s cross-country running, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s volleyball.

NVU and the other schools in the conference can decide to hold organized practices and other team activities, and even play alternative competitions outside the league if those games are allowed by federal, state, local and university health guidelines. However, all league games and tournaments are canceled.

“Northern Vermont University is committed to exploring meaningful athletic experiences for all fall sport student athletes,” the school’s statement said. “Teams will be encouraged, as health and safety conditions allow, to conduct conditioning, strength training, sport-related practice opportunities, and potentially competition during the fall semester.”

“As teams progress through the recommended NCAA re-socialization phases successfully, and if public health guidelines allow for any sort of outside competition, NVU will consider them at the appropriate time and only if it is safe to do so.”

The conference hasn’t made any decisions about winter and spring athletics.

The NCAA, the governing body for college athletics across the country, has decided to grant an extra year of eligibility for any student athletes who do not get to participate in a minimum of 50 percent of their scheduled contests this fall.

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