Bethune-Cookman University cancels rest of athletic season due to virus

B-Cu joins Southwestern Athletic Conference next year

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – After a recent spike in coronavirus cases on campus, Bethune-Cookman University has cancelled the remaining 2020-21 athletic season, the historically Black university announced this week.

President E. LaBrent Chrite said in a statement Monday the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was made out of an abundance of caution.

“In the face of a surging COVID-19 spike across much of the country and the State of Florida, we have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time,” Chrite said. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans will always be our top priority.”

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The athletic season would have been the final season for B-CU as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In July 2021, the B-CU will become part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

According to the university, B-CU is one of the first NCAA Division I institutions to end athletics for the remainder of the year. University officials said the decision was made after a series of meetings with athletic staff, medical and public health experts as well as state and local officials.

“The risk premium is simply too high and our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Chrite said. “As members of the B-CU family constantly engage in various forms of civic engagement, this decision also protects our community partners as well.”

The decision also comes after a recent spike in cases on campus, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn W. Thompson,

“We’ve administered nearly 6,000 tests since the start of the school year, and up until a little over a week ago, saw remarkably positive results from our testing protocols. Over the past eight days, however, we’ve noted a sudden spike in cases on campus, hence this decision.” Thompson said.

Thompson, who lost his brother-in-law to the virus in September, said B-CU has faced other challenges before and sports will return when it’s safe.

“B-CU athletics has survived hurricanes, tornadoes and a myriad of other challenges. This pandemic has affected us all, including me personally,” Thompson said. “Now is not the time for us to roll the balls out and play. It’s the time to close ranks and protect our community so that we can remain safe until it’s time to play again.”