The New England Small College Athletic Conference announced via a statement on Thursday afternoon that NESCAC Presidents unanimously decided to cancel conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season.

The Presidents' statement said:

"The health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the broader community remain our foremost concerns...many of our institutions have made or are considering significant modifications to the 2020-21 academic calendar. As a result, many of our students will not return to campus for the spring semester until late January or early February."

"Among other things, the timing of students’ return to campus means there will not be enough time to conduct meaningful conference play."

"We understand this decision will disappoint many of our students, given the important role athletics plays in the student experience. We remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage in athletic activities. Students may continue to participate in practice activities, strength and conditioning, skill development and leadership programming in accordance with NCAA, Conference and institutional policies, as well as state and local health guidelines. Institutions may schedule outside competition at their discretion."

The statement also noted that planning will continue for the possibility of spring competition.

Several of the conference's schools, including Bates, Bowdoin and Colby, were among the first schools to cancel the fall sports seasons last spring.

The program most affected by this decision would be Bowdoin's women's basketball program, which went 27-2 last season before having their NCAA D-III Tournament run cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Polar Bears made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA D-III National Championship in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Bowdoin Assistant AD Jim Caton joined The Drive on Friday to discuss the decision, and how it's being met by the student athletes at his school.