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UD joins the ranks of schools suspending fall sports

The University of Delaware is the latest to pass on trying to play fall sports in 2020.

UD announced Friday that it is suspending all fall competition, including football.Athletic director Chrissi Rawak says the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff drove their decision.

"As we evaluated and analyzed practice and competition, and travel, it was just very clear that it was not going to be something that we were willing to risk," saidf Rawak. "The lives of our people and the risk that it was going to take were just not worth it."


The move comes after the Blue Hens’ football league, the Colonial Athletic Association, announced Friday it would not hold a conference schedule in the fall.  The CAA is considering a spring football season.

The CAA’s decision applies only to football for now, but UD says it is shutting down all fall sports.  That affects 11 teams, including field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

The school says voluntary workouts will continue as allowed by state and local guidelines, as well as NCAA rules.  It also plans to pursue spring scheduling possibilities for its fall teams.

It is the first time UD will not hold a fall football season since 1945 when World War II halted play. But head coach Danny Rocco says they understand why it's necesary.

"As a staff and as a team, we fully support the decision," said Rocco "It hurts. It's painful. It's emotional. But if you take a step back, it's clearly the right thing to do.  You can get distracted a little bit by factors that aren't necessarily - or should not - be priorities in making such decisions.  Focusing on player safety, health and well-being, this is the right decision."

UD officials note that student-athletes that choose not to participate in their sport during the 2020-21 academic year because of COVID-19 will keep their scholarship and remain in good standing with their team.

UD will decide the fate of its winter sports, including basketball, at a later date.

Delaware State University announced Thursday that it is suspending its fall sports competition after its conferece, the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference, pulled the plug on all fall sports.


Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.