With the rise in coronavirus cases across the country as a result of the Delta variant, the Atlantic Sun Conference is in the process of settling its health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, Commissioner Ted Gumbart said during Wednesday's media day.
Part of the reason the league has yet to formalize things is because of its partnership with the Western Athletic Conference, but Gumbart believes the two conferences will come to an agreement next week.
The biggest issue to be resolved is how to handle potential forfeits in the event of a virus outbreak. Gumbart said there will be "limited opportunity" to reschedule games and that if a single team cannot take the field -- a determination that will be made by the schools rather than the league -- it will forfeit and be credited with a loss.
That's something the ASUN would like to avoid at all costs.
"We always want to default to 'Let's play,' " Gumbart said. "That's what's fair to the kids and what they're expecting as part of the opportunity we provide them."
The league's policies require schools to look at all possibilities of rescheduling a game before canceling, so if there is a date available for both teams, Gumbart didn't rule out moving things around. That could also be the case if both teams in a given game have simultaneous outbreaks.
Gumbart said the proposal will be similar to other conferences in terms of testing protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
"We always want to play," he said, "but we have to do it safely."