In response to directives from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Presidents Council of the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C), Luther College’s intercollegiate athletic conference passed a resolution Monday to postpone football, women’s and men’s soccer and volleyball to spring 2021. The conference intends to move forward with fall competition in women’s and men’s cross country, women’s golf and women’s tennis. Schedules will be determined and announced at a later date.

The Presidents Council has regularly met throughout the summer to make plans for fall athletics that take into account the developing trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iowa and Nebraska as well as NCAA directives and recommendations. Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors directed schools and conferences to meet specific requirements if they are to conduct fall sports in order to safeguard the well-being of student-athletes. This new directive motivated the A-R-C decision to postpone competition in a few fall sports. 

“Our coaches support this decision, while acknowledging the disappointment that it will cause for our students. In the coming days, coaches will share fall plans with their teams to further the development of student-athletes participating in football, soccer, and volleyball, both in their athletic programs and in their academic pursuits,” said Renae Rost-Hartl, director of intercollegiate athletics.

“Division III student-athletes are leaders. They compete fiercely, but they balance that passion for sport with a commitment to academics and service,” said Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward. “They form lifelong networks of support and they build teams. This forced detour gives our Luther Norse an opportunity to show how character is built and is lived out through being proud DIII students and coaches — and we couldn’t be prouder of our ‘One Team’ ethos as we find creative ways to face this year, in and out of uniform.”

The NCAA’s directives required strict conditions for play, including “regular testing, separation of college athletes and essential personnel from all other nonessential personnel, and physical distancing and masking policies during all aspects of noncompetition.”

The conference now will focus on its plans for movement of the previously mentioned sports to the spring, along with full fall conference competition in cross country, women’s golf and women’s tennis. The discussion of winter sports also will take high priority in the coming weeks. The conference sponsors women’s and men’s basketball, women’s and men’s indoor track and field, and wrestling in the winter.

Further announcements will be made public as appropriate.