|COVID-19 forces Charlotte 49ers to postpone fall sports until 2021|
|School's response is tied to pandemic|
|Published Monday, August 24, 2020 1:44 pm|
|PHOTO | LEROY HARDEN|
|Charlotte athletics announced most of its fall sports, including men's and women's soccer, will be pushed back to the spring semester.|
The NCAA Division I men’s and women’s programs that typically play in the fall will have to wait until 2021 for their seasons. Charlotte announced the move Aug. 21 in response to Conference USA moving certain fall sports championships to the spring. The shift was a result of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors deciding to push Division I fall championships to the spring.
The changes also impact volleyball. However, the school has not decided whether or not to move men’s and women’s cross country, as it would impact distance runners. In addition, football remains untouched by this, as the NCAA’s authority does not extend to post-season play for FBS schools such as Charlotte. Therefore, the C-USA championship, bowl games and College Football Playoff remain scheduled for December and January.
“We want all of our teams to be well-positioned for postseason play,” Charlotte Director of Athletics Mike Hill said in a statement. “We spoke with our coaches and they wanted to move to the spring to coincide with NCAA championships. On top of that, our non-conference scheduling opportunities have been extremely limited due to the majority of other conferences moving to the spring. Our student-athletes and coaches have been remarkable during this time of uncertainty and we can’t wait to see them compete next spring.”
While the school will begin the fall semester on Sept. 7, in-person instruction has been pushed to Oct. 1 for undergraduate and graduate classes due to COVID-19 concerns. As such, the football home opener against Georgia State on Sept. 26 will be played without fans. Season ticket packages will no longer be available for the 2020 football season.
Charlotte’s three other home dates are Florida International on Oct. 17, Texas El Paso on Oct. 24 and Western Kentucky on Nov. 28. Whether or not fans will be permitted at these games is to be determined.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate these unprecedented and complicated circumstances,” Hill said. “Our staff has worked tirelessly developing multiple seating models to accommodate our amazing fans. However, we must be responsive to the condition of our community, and the reality is that until we see significant improvement, we cannot host fans. We remain hopeful that we will be able to offer single-game tickets for games later this season should the situation allow.”
Options for football season ticket holders include: a complete refund for 2020, turning all or part of the season ticket purchase into a tax-deductible donation for the program, or rolling the 2020 season ticket over for a 2021 ticket. Should fans be allowed at games during the 2020 season, season ticket holders and students will have priority seating.
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