The Gulf South Conference announced Friday that it will suspend all athletic related events due to the impact of COVID-19, which is commonly known as the coronavirus.
The decision comes a day after the NCAA made its decision to cancel its NCAA Winter and Spring Championships.
The official release from the GSC office said, “In response to the continued impact of COVID-19, the Gulf South Conference has suspended all athletic competition, countable athletic related activities, and off-campus recruiting for an indefinite period. This decision was made after thorough collaboration between the conference office, university presidents and chancellors, and the league’s athletic directors.”
At Delta State University, baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, golf and softball were currently in the middle of their seasons. The women’s basketball team was scheduled to compete in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament in Cleveland, Tenn. before it was cancelled, and the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were competing in the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in Geneva, Ohio. The swim teams competed in the first day of the championships Wednesday and competed in day two of the preliminaries before the event was cancelled Thursday.
Delta State University Director of Athletics Mike Kinnison released an official statement about the decision made by the GSC and the NCAA.
“The unsettling events of this week have taken us to decisions and actions that were unforeseen and lead into a territory that we have not traveled before. The GSC suspension of all athletic activities and the NCAA decision to cancel all postseason championships directly impacted our winter and spring sports. These decisions meant the end of season and competition for some and uncertainty for others. While there are questions still to be answered, we acknowledge those decisions were made in the best interest of the health and welfare of all our student athletes and fans.
“Thank you for your continued support of Delta State Athletics and your patience during this period. We will address the needs of our student athletes and supporters on a daily basis. We will be committed to keep you informed on the status of our athletics and decisions made that affect our operations. We will be forced to reschedule our Athletic Alumni Induction Event that was scheduled for March 27, as all on campus functions are suspended. We will contact our season ticket holders for credits when we know the final outcome of this indefinite suspension of athletic events. I ask that you continue to encourage our coaches and athletes as we work through this adjustment period.
“I have great faith in our department’s ability to “weather this storm” and our university leadership to provide needed direction. We will look forward to the opportunity to represent our University when we return to the fields, courts, course and pool.”
DSU and the GSC office will continue to monitor the situation closely.