JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A day after the Southern Conference postponed fall sports, East Tennessee State athletic director Scott Carter made it a point that his first priority is the health and safety of student-athletes and coaches.
Sports impacted by the conference decision include football, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country. It is the intention to move the fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring.
“It was a very difficult decision for us, but in the name of health and safety it was the right decision,” Carter said.
The Buccaneers athletic director also added that the SoCon got great guidance by plenty of qualified health professionals.
“Truly one of the things that stood out was the Southern Conference put together a medical advisory group, consisting from around the league and all five of those doctors ultimately recommended that fall competition be suspended.”
Even before the Southern Conference’s ruling on Thursday, the Buccaneers football team already lost its season-opening showdown with Mars Hill and its contest against SEC foe Georgia, which would’ve given East Tennessee a $550,000 paycheck.
Even with plenty of conferences welcoming non-conference games, the Buccaneers don’t plan to welcome that challenge.
“Health and safety are our number one priority. I’ve honestly got multiple opportunities that if we want to go out and build several guaranteed games to make a bunch of money playing football at opposing sites we could try to do that, I feel like that’s not the right thing to do,” Carter said.
On top of Buccaneer squads getting their seasons pushed back, one of the area’s premier golf tournaments, the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, is also getting postponed.
“It could take place later in the fall, end of the spring, I don’t really feel comfortable telling you that right now,” Carter said. “I will say this, if we can get it deemed health and safety, appropriate from our advisors we’ll do everything we can.”
The tournament usually takes place in the middle of October.