The Presidents Council of the American Rivers Conference, Luther College’s intercollegiate athletic conference, has committed to proceeding with conference competition for the fall, using a reduced schedule in football and single round-robin schedules in other sports.
The American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) sponsors fall sports in men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball. A-R-C leadership has been meeting periodically during the late spring and summer to discuss and monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its ramifications for athletics.
Schedules will be announced as soon as the revised drafts pass through the conference’s governance groups. The conference’s underlying goal is to provide a meaningful and worthwhile experience for the entire A-R-C athletics community. Nevertheless, the Presidents Council and conference leadership will continue to monitor public health in the region and will adjust the schedules accordingly. Any changes in conference-tournament format will be announced with the revised sports schedules.
The A-R-C is allowing individual institutions to decide on non-conference competitions. Luther College's director of intercollegiate athletics will work with college leadership and the Emergency Response Team to make these decisions.
Luther’s director of intercollegiate athletics will also make decisions regarding spectators at athletic events two weeks in advance of each event. Decisions will take into account conditions on campus and in the local community. The Sports Information Office will provide live streams of on-campus athletic competitions for football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, with the schedule and links available on the Live Streaming and Media Gallery webpage.
Coaches and athletics staff have developed plans and protocols for safe practices, events and facility operations. They have and will continue to seek guidance from the NCAA and the American Rivers Conference. All student-athletes, coaches and other athletics personnel will be educated on current recommendations for infection control through a variety of methods, including but not limited to in-person and remote presentations, team-specific messaging and facility signage. All student-athletes will be required to:
- Follow campus policies for face coverings and physical distancing.
- Spend time upon their arrival in August isolated in their residence halls prior to being tested for COVID-19 and while waiting for their test results.
- Monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including daily temperature checks, and report them immediately, should they appear.
- Follow all new policies for using the athletic training clinic and hands-free hydration methods, including having their own water bottle at all times.
The A-R-C Presidents Council also took action on its COVID-19 guidelines for return to campus, practice and competition. That document emphasizes local and state guidelines as best practices for the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and support staff. An “action team” was convened last month to draft the guidelines that were approved by the Presidents Council last week.
The conference will make further announcements as appropriate.