JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The games won’t go on this fall for sports programs at Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida.
The Atlantic Sun Conference postponed its fall sports regular season and championships on Friday morning, likely moving athletics from fall to next spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNF athletic director Lee Moon said the postponement was difficult news to take, for him personally and the program as a whole. There’s nothing to compare it to.
“I thought I’d experienced just about anything you could possibly experience either an athlete or a coach or an AD because I’ve been all of those things and never like this, nothing I could imagine,” he said.
JU athletic director Alex Ricker-Gilbert said that it’s a no doubt a tough situation for Dolphins athletes to be in, but he was encouraging them to try and transfer that immediate disappointment, ultimately into a positive.
“Do they want to compete in the fall? Did they want to compete in the fall? Sure,” he said. “But with every challenge comes opportunity and that’s how they’re looking at it.”
The ASUN Presidents’ Council delivered the news Friday morning and turned its attention to moving the fall sports to the spring.
“Obviously this is a huge disappointment,” said ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “Anyone who follows college sports understands the dynamics that brought us to this decision, but that doesn’t mean we like it. My feelings right now? COVID stinks. If you weren’t putting my words into a public release, I might put it another way.
“We will make every effort to provide a quality competitive experience for our fall student-athletes during the spring semester. We’re not in the position today to guarantee it will happen, but we can promise to make every effort to get there.
The postponement affects cross country golf, rowing, soccer and volleyball. Winter sports like basketball and indoor track and field are not included in the postponement.
“They’re excited about being back with their teammates,” Moon said. “They’ve been emotional about being back with their teammates and their coaches, and being able to be on the court for volleyball or practice for soccer from what the coaches say, it’s been unbelievable the enthusiasm and the energy and that’s the positive. The downside is now we’ve got to look to the future and what’s next.”