Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,
Welcome back! With winter quarter beginning, I write to share important information about the 2020-21 athletics season.
Just prior to the holidays, I discussed the remaining athletics events and season with senior staff, COVID health and safety professionals, our coaches, the Cascade Collegiate Conference commissioner and other college presidents.
The views our coaches and staff in athletics shared were powerful. While expressing their fundamental desire to have Geoduck teams compete, our coaches and staff to a person had serious concerns about the current risks to our students in competing with other schools.
Given the surge in COVID-19 throughout our conference, moving forward with the season now would put individual students, their families and our campus at high risk. Any additional delays in decision-making about competition would not be helpful to students needing to make decisions about winter and spring quarters. Collectively, we agreed opting out of this academic year's remaining competitions is the approach Evergreen should take.
I have therefore decided Evergreen will opt out of the competitive seasons this year for men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball and track & field. We’ve informed our student athletes of this decision. The good news is that letters of intent and tuition scholarships for the year will continue to be honored and that no student athlete will lose a season of eligibility resulting from this decision.
Evergreen is not alone in opting out for the remainder of this academic year. Other conference schools have made similar decisions. Further, none of the conference schools in Oregon have been granted permission for intercollegiate contact-sports competition by Governor Brown. I know, however, that this news nevertheless disappointing, particularly for our seniors, and other Geoduck athletes who were ready to excel in this competitive season.
We want to create opportunities in the months ahead for our teams to play together, and to compete when and where it is safe to do so. Shifting our focus away from participating in this competitive season will give us time to create a consistent and safe practicing and conditioning environment. We are in communication with fellow institutions locally to explore the feasibility of team scrimmages in early spring.
With the end of 2020, our coaches and members of the athletic administration are eager to focus on moving forward in preparation for a full and engaging 2021-22 sports season. So am I – go Geoducks!
Please stay safe,
George S. Bridges
The Evergreen State College