Randolph-Macon eyes successful return to sports in 2021 with athletics on hold

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ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Like other schools around the country COVID-19 has directly impacted Randolph-Macon College.

Sports were put on hold earlier this year and they won’t return until at least 2021 because the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) has postponed fall sports.

“I think the conference did a nice job of trying to keep the competitive pieces alive for as long as they could,” said Randolph-Macon athletic director Jeff Burns. “I think we made a good choice. Students right now they need something to count on, and even though it may not be their first choice I think giving them something to look forward to a little more concrete was a good move on the conference’s part.”

Randolph-Macon is a longtime member of the ODAC and sports plays a big role at the college with a large percentage of the student body participating in sports.

“At our campus about 35 percent of the current student body is student athletes,” added Burns. “It’s a big piece of this community and our department feels like we’re a big part of the curricular mission here as a co-curricular piece.”

A further decision on rescheduling fall sports along with other season sports will be made at a later date by ODAC leadership. Football could be played in the spring but there’s always a possibility of sports returning without fans, limiting revenue for the college.

Burns said it is too early to understand exactly the type of financial impact within athletics but they have no plans to cut programs or shorten roster sizes like other colleges have done.

“We’ve seen that from other places, the elimination of some sports and some programs. Randolph-Macon has been really fortunate. The administration that we have understands the value that we add,” said Burns. “We’re not looking to cut sports. We’re not looking to cut rosters down. What we want to do is provide a great experience for our people and so far it’s been real good in our favor for that.”

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