Yankee Small College Conference cancels winter sports season
The Yankee Small College Conference, which includes three schools from Maine, has decided to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The YSCC joins the New England Small College Athletic Conference in canceling its winter season.
Central Maine Community College in Auburn, South Portland’s Southern Maine Community College and the University of Maine at Augusta are the three Maine teams in the YSCC.
The other schools are New Hampshire’s Great Bay Community College and New Hampshire Technical Institute; New York institutions Paul Smith’s College and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Vermont Technical College; and Massachusetts schools Northern Essex Community College and Hampshire College.
Teams can still schedule non-conference competition and have practices as long as they meet federal and state public health recommendations and institutional guidelines.
Unity College and the University of Maine Machias were in the conference last year but each suspended all sports programs for this year.
Matt Richards, the athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Southern Maine Community College and the president of the YSCC, said he and other athletic directors worked for four months to try to come up with guidelines and modifications so they could have a season.
“But we’re dealing with 10 different institutions in five different states,” Richards said. “Every time we met, more and more hurdles kept coming up. It became insurmountable.”
For example, he pointed out one school could only play teams that were located in a green [low-risk] county; another couldn’t stay overnight and the state of Maine has a travel ban to certain states.
“Once [NESCAC schools] Bowdoin, Colby and Bates made their decision, the handwriting was on the wall,” Central Maine Community College women’s basketball coach Andrew Morong said. “Between conference and non-conference games, we play in six or seven states and with all the different [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines, things can become pretty messy, pretty quickly. And we have players from all over the world.”
Morong, who has guided CMCC to two Division II United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championships and two runner up finishes the last four years, said they were upfront and honest with their players from the start.
“We prepared them for the worst and hoped for the best,” he said. “We didn’t want to mislead them.”