Morehouse College cancels football, cross country seasons due to COVID-19

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Morehouse College will not have a football or cross country season this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school announced Friday.

President David A. Thomas said in a statement that the college will not participate in intercollegiate athletic competition in order to keep the campus and every student on it safe.

“Like all of the decisions we've made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind. It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August. Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”

The school said it will honor all athletic scholarships and pledged to continue committing to its athletes “first and foremost as students.”

Morehouse, a historically Black college, is based in Atlanta and plays in Division II. A decision on winter and spring sports will be made later in the year.

“I am extremely optimistic about the College's future,” Thomas wrote. “We will rise out of COVID-19 moment stronger and more focused on delivering our mission. So much of what the country has experienced these last few months makes clear that the world needs Morehouse.”

Bowdoin College, a Division III school in Maine, also canceled its fall sports seasons on Monday. It comes the week after Division I schools reported double-digit numbers of positive COVID-19 cases when their student-athletes and staff began reporting back for workouts. In some cases, the schools suspended voluntary workouts. The start of formal team practices can begin as early as July 6.

In this Friday, April 12, 2019 photo, people enter the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta. One of the nation's top historically black colleges is cutting employee salaries and retirement contributions to increase student aid. The announcement Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, by Atlanta's Morehouse College comes months after billionaire Robert Smith promised to repay all student loans accumulated by Morehouse's class of 2019. That one-time gift will total $34 million after the college announced this week that Smith would also repay money borrowed by parents of Morehouse graduates. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
Morehouse College will not compete in the fall sports schedule. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

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