Most Patriot League AD’s have kept a low profile during the quarantine but on June 15th Lehigh Dean of Athletics, Joe Sterrett gave the clearest picture yet of the thinking of the League. Now that all but a small minority of schools have revealed plans for a return to classes in the fall, Sterrett recognized it as a positive step. However, a final official decision is at least two weeks away.
The entire interview can be found on the Brown and White web site.
As reported in the Brown and White, Sterrett is reported to say, ” A plan will have to go through a series of approvals on campus, locally, with the Patriot League and then with other leagues. There were two gateway decisions that needed to be made before he and his team could realistically plan for a return of sports at Lehigh- the reopening of the state of Pennsylvania and Lehigh’s decision to return to campus.”
The county that Lehigh and Lafayette sit in is slowly reaching “green” status. Governor Wolfe recently announced new guidelines for a return of high school sports. It has been reported to me that the Lafayette athletic administration is working hard on strategies that will will allow, along with all the Patriot League schools a safe return to athletic competition.
The NCAA now does allow voluntary pre-practice training but since the county is still under “yellow” guidance, schools in that zone are unable to return. However, as the inevitable “green” phase arrives restrictions could be lifted.
Sterrett cautiously remarked it was conceivable that some sports may be able to take place while others may not, but the goal is to have all fall sports return. As of the June 15 interview, nothing has been ruled out. ” I’m more hopeful,” he says
At Lafayette, students athletes make up about 20 percent of the student population, and contrary to popular believe, the aid it consumes amounts to the equivalent of 30 percent of that population…… below that of the general student body. A fall without sport might have a devastating effect on revenue, both from giving alumni, as well as from student fees. It could be part of the decision for some to take a “gap” year by student athletes as well as the general population.
The clock ticks and by the end of the month a decision needs to be made!! In the meantime if I were a student athlete, I would continue my preseason conditioning plan as best I can.