SAA suspends conference athletics, no Hendrix football this fall

Deondre Henry & Ronnie McShan reflect on Hendrix football this fall & more
Region 8 Sports Extra: Nettleton alum Deondre Henry on no Hendrix football this fall

CONWAY, Ark. (KAIT) - Another Natural State school won’t play football this fall.

The Southern Athletic Association announced Friday that they’re suspending conference athletics for the fall 2020 semester.

Hendrix College is a member of the NCAA Division III conference, it features institutions in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, & Mississippi. Rhodes College in Memphis is also in the SAA.

“This decision is based on the collective judgment of the Presidents of the SAA member institutions with the best interests, health, and safety of our student-athletes and coaching staffs in mind,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. Over the last several months, the council has met to weigh the developments in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to plan for the 2020-21 athletic season. “The highest priority at each institution is the health and wellbeing of our campus communities, student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and spectators,” said SAA Commissioner Jay Gardiner. “As the pandemic evolves, the SAA will continue to monitor the situation and intends to resume fall sport competition in early 2021.”

During the fall, each SAA institution will be able to work with student-athletes for training opportunities outside a traditional season, consistent with federal and state public health authorities, the NCAA, and institutional guidelines.

The conference decision will impact six of Hendrix’s 21 sports: men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball. Several NEA natives are on each of their rosters.

Football: 5

Men’s Cross Country: 1

Women’s Cross Country: 1

The ripple effect also means there won’t be a pigskin matchup between Hendrix & Lyon. They were scheduled to play September 12th in Conway.

“I can assure you that not only is our student-athletes’ health, safety, and well-being a priority, but so is their student-athlete experience,” said Hendrix Director of Athletics Amy Weaver. “Therefore, it was important to us that we not cancel the fall season, but rather move it to the spring semester in hopes of competing in a more consistent playing season.”

The SAA intends to join other Division III conferences in requesting that the NCAA postpone fall championships until the spring semester of 2021.

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