Howard Payne athletics to postpone fall 2020 conference play to spring 2021

BROWNWOOD – July 25, 2020 – Due to concerns arising from challenges related to COVID-19, Howard Payne University’s fall 2020 American Southwest Conference competition has been moved to spring 2021 as a result of a decision by the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Council of Presidents. The action was taken due to rapidly changing information and guidelines from the NCAA as well as the states, counties and areas where the ASC institutions compete. The ASC participates in NCAA Division III. HPU’s fall sports include football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

This competition plan for spring 2021 will preserve eligibility for ASC players by staying at the 50% schedule level. The 50% spring 2021 schedule will include ASC conference championships for these fall 2020 sports.

“Our athletic programs constitute a big part of the student experience at our university,” said Dr. Cory Hines, HPU’s president. “We had hoped to begin our full schedule of fall sports as originally planned, but in the midst of so much uncertainty we wholeheartedly support this decision to postpone our conference activities for the safety of our student-athletes, athletics personnel and fans.”

Hunter Sims, HPU’s athletic director, cited the importance of preserving eligibility for student-athletes.

“Our student-athletes are eager to make the most of their time to train and compete,” Sims said. “Though the conference competition has been delayed, I’m pleased that the 50% plan will preserve their eligibility for the future.”

While this decision postpones fall 2020 sports competition, ASC institutions will still be permitted to conduct organized team activities at their own discretion, including workouts, practices, strength and conditioning, meetings and access to their athletic training staff as permitted by respective local, county and state guidelines. Detailed plans for moving fall athletics schedules into the spring 2021 semester are being developed and reviewed by conference staff and ASC athletic directors.

The plan for the 2020-21 winter sports season, as well as the non-championship segments of spring sports, will commence as currently scheduled but may be adjusted by the ASC Council of Presidents if health conditions warrant modification.