American Rivers Conference Makes Announcement Regarding Fall 2020 Intercollegiate Athletics

Aug 11, 2020

Dear Members of the University of Dubuque Community,

As many of you know, the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) and its presidents were the last Division III Conference in the country to support a modified fall sports schedule.  We believe that participation is critical to the healthy formation of students. Late last week, after the A-R-C’s announcement, the NCAA issued a set of last-minute mandates that made both implementation and participation in fall 2020 intercollegiate athletics nearly impossible.

Because of the recent NCAA mandates, we as a conference, regrettably adopted the following motion at our late afternoon meeting Monday, August 10: “It is moved that the A-R-C postpone football, soccer, volleyball to the spring semester 2021 and will endeavor to continue as planned with tennis, golf, and cross country for the fall semester 2020.”

With this development, I envision a rigorous and safe fall semester practice for football, soccer, and volleyball while we continue to maintain our screening and testing protocols.  It is the A-R-C’s intention to host a full spring semester of competition for all three sports.  There are many details to work out, but the intention is clear: to host a full, meaningful, and competitive spring semester of competition for the sports that were postponed in fall 2020.

Tennis, golf, and cross country will continue with their modified schedule of competition for fall 2020 with our screening and testing protocols.

I understand the inconvenience and even hardship that this decision has placed on our student-athletes and their families, coaches, athletic trainers, administrators, and support personnel.  Since day one, our commitment has been to our student-athletes and to doing all that we could to ensure a meaningful and safe experience for each one of them.  As of late last week, that commitment was removed from us as a conference and replaced by the poorly written and ambiguous NCAA mandate.

University of Dubuque is committed to working through this time in a way that addresses the needs, concerns, and safety of each student-athlete.  If you have concerns about your safety, we will work with you.  If you have questions about your eligibility, we will work with you and support you.  We will work with each one of you, our students.

I understand that this is not how you envisioned your fall semester at University of Dubuque.  It’s certainly not my preferred way of student participation and welcoming you.  Nevertheless, it is what confronts us now.  And we will each do our best to learn, grow, and work through this experience — together.

Jeffrey F. Bullock, PhD