SUNY Cortland's football season has been postponed after its affiliate conference, Empire 8, announced that it will postpone the sport's 2020 fall season. The postponement of the Red Dragon's season means that all of the games on their 2020 schedule have been cancelled, including the 62nd Cortaca Jug Game scheduled to be played at home on Nov. 14.
According to a press release issued by the conference, the Empire 8 Presidents Council voted unanimously to postpone all fall sports in 2020, those sports being football, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, women's tennis and women's volleyball.
"Although we all knew this was a scenario that could play out for fall sports and football, and especially with a lot of the recent announcements coming out, it still stings quite a bit to have to officially say and know that there will not be a season," Cortland Director of Athletics Mike Urtz said in a presrelease. "My heart really goes out to the players and the staff. That said, we will focus on what we can do, whatever that ends up being. Ultimately, we will get as ready as we can for the future. We still plan on staying engaged and creating an opportunity for these young men to take part in some form of activity that they love to be a part of."
"My heart breaks for our players, especially our seniors," football head coach Curt Fitzpatrick said in the release. "When we left for spring break back in March and found out that we would not be returning the rest of the spring semester our focus shifted to making the best out of any opportunities that we were presented with. Our plan was to be ready when we are called upon, and while that won't be this fall like we had hoped, it will be sometime – and we'll be ready. We did not blink in the face of that adversity, and we won't now either."
Individual Empire 8 institutions have the ability to engage in athletic-related activity this fall to provide opportunities for their athletes and teams in accordance with local health policy. The conference said in the release that it is "committed to providing all fall student-athletes with a meaningful conference regular season and championship tournament experience in the spring of 2021 provided it is safe to do so."
The status of the college's remaining fall sports programs is still up in the air. Seven of the school's nine fall teams are members of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). The women's golf team is a member of the Northeast Women's Golf Conference.
Ithaca College has yet to decide its course of action for the fall 2020 athletic season. The college is affiliated with the Liberty League, which announced on July 7 that the conference's fall season will begin no earlier than Sept. 26.