Fall sports that have been defined as “high risk” have been moved to the spring season at Franklin College and all schools affiliated with the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball, which are defined as being “high risk” will compete next spring. The remaining sports traditionally in the fall – women’s tennis, women’s golf and men’s and women’s cross country – will still compete this fall, the HCAC announced Monday morning.

“Last spring’s sports cancellations were devastating for many of our student-athletes, so we are all working to ensure this year’s opportunities are preserved,” incoming Franklin Director of Athletics Andy Hendricks said in a press release. “Over the last several months, we have heard from them how much they have missed campus and the opportunity to compete. Albeit modified and adapted, the HCAC plan makes us optimistic for the year ahead. We will continue to rely on our local health professionals and institutional leadership to guide us as we offer our student-athletes the safest and best possible experience as Grizzlies.”

The Council of Presidents in the HCAC unanimously voted to modify when conference competition and championships for football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will take place.

This fall will be considered the non-traditional season, with practices and scrimmages taking place in preparation for the upcoming spring season.

The HCAC’s decision to shift the season came following analysis on whether the schools could successfully fulfill testing recommendations from the NCAA without drawing vital health resources from their local communities, according to the press release.

The conference also believes that with additional testing and scientific gains regarding COVID-19, moving high contact risk sports to the spring will be a safer option. And a recent waiver announced by the NCAA that allows for flexibility in how seasons are structured left the presidents believing that students could have meaningful experiences this fall, even without conference competition.