Keene State College is progressing toward fielding winter sports teams this upcoming season.
“We have plans in place for a framework of winter sports,” said KSC Athletic Director Phil Racicot.
Tentatively, winter sports are scheduled to begin around Jan. 16, with student-athletes returning to campus from the holiday break on Jan. 2 to allow for a two-week quarantine period if necessary.
The Little East Conference presidents will meet Nov. 6, where school athletic directors will present the tentative plan.
A big factor on how winter sports will play out this season is the availability of rapid COVID testing for their athletes.
“A lot of this is going to be about the capacity for testing,” Racicot said, adding that the NCAA recommends three tests per week for basketball teams specifically. “The prospect of winter sports is the testing.”
Racicot said that athletic directors around the conference have had an opportunity to learn throughout the fall and feel confident there will be safe competition in the winter.
“We are committed to having winter sports,” Racicot said. “We absolutely want to give our athletes the opportunity to compete.”
Racicot said one option for certain winter sports, such as swimming or indoor track, is to break down large invitationals into dual meets between just two schools. Downsizing the number of teams competing at one time would theoretically minimize the spread of COVID-19.
KSC canceled all of their fall competition, although many teams, such as soccer, volleyball and field hockey, competed in intrasquad scrimmages. Conference and NCAA championships for those sports were canceled as well.