Bethune-Cookman University announced Tuesday that it will not play sports during the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
School President Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite released the following statement on the decision to HBCU Gameday (h/t ESPN's Myron Medcalf):
"B-CU will forgo all spring athletic competition, including football and men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball and track and field. The recent spike in COVID-19 positivity rates in the state, across Volusia County [Florida] and on our campus provides clear and unambiguous evidence, in our view, that now is simply not the time to resume athletic competition."
Bethune-Cookman competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and is a historically black college/university (HBCU).
Per Medcalf, Bethune-Cookman is the first known Division I school to cancel its entire sports slate for the 2020-21 campaign.
Bethune-Cookman football has won eight MEAC championships, including four in a row from 2012 to 2015. The Wildcats also reached the FCS playoffs five times, posting an 0-5 record. The team has posted a winning record in each of the past three seasons and nine of the past 10, including a 7-4 mark in 2019.
The men's basketball team hasn't been as successful, as the Wildcats have never reached the NCAA tournament since the MEAC became a Division I conference in 1980.
Bethune-Cookman made three Division II NCAA tournament fields before then and has won the MEAC regular-season crown twice (2011 and 2018), but it has yet to win the conference tournament. The Wildcats finished 16-14 last season.
The Bethune-Cookman women's basketball team won the MEAC regular-season title in 2016, 2017 and 2020, and reached the NCAA tournament for the first and only time in 2019. The Wildcats went 23-6 last season, but they were upset by Maryland Eastern Shore in the MEAC tournament.
Bethune-Cookman is located in Daytona Beach, Florida, which is part of Volusia County. According to the New York Times (h/t Medcalf), there have been 544 documented new cases of COVID-19 in Volusia County over the past week.
The MEAC has plans in place to play fall sports in the spring provided the COVID-19 landscape allows for it.