After much coordination and thorough evaluation of all options, today I must deliver the very disappointing news that Norwich University will not be participating in fall sports this year. In the absence of a competitive season, we are evaluating ways to maximize on-campus athletics in ways that advance the skills and experience of our student athletes while preserving NCAA eligibility, including pursuit of NCAA waivers where appropriate. Our excellent coaches, trainers, and staff are working now on how we can support our athletes’ growth and continue to deliver the lessons of leadership and character development that are uniquely present on the fields of athletic competition.
We have not yet determined the status of winter sports. We will evaluate all options thoroughly and work with all constituent groups to make a decision as quickly as possible, informed by health and safety guidelines from the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health. All winter and spring athletes will be able to participate in athletic- related activities under the guidance of Norwich coaches and staff and as directed by NCAA regulations.
Athletics play a major role in student life and community relations, and help our young men and women develop into the leaders our country needs. This is a very difficult decision, and one we do not take lightly. Ultimately, we must honor our commitment to the safety and well-being of our student athletes, coaches, faculty, and staff, as well as our fans and friends. Through those perspectives, we simply could not accept the risks associated with exposing our athletes and competitors from other schools to environments we could not ensure are sufficiently safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.
We will ensure that the activities and training opportunities we offer our fall student athletes will not affect their eligibility. By using this season for preparation and training, our athletes will develop their skills and conditioning while transitioning to college life. Similarly, our coaches will be able to provide valuable mentorship, leadership development, and training guidance that will ensure our teams and athletes establish a foundation for success across the full term of their athletic eligibility. Athletics will continue to be a university priority with programming and activities for the Norwich community throughout the academic year. We plan to pursue physical activity and internal competition as rigorously as possible.
Finally, outdoor recreation programming will be expanded through the Shaw Outdoor Center. Fitness facilities including Plumley Armory, the Andrews weight room, Kreitzberg Arena, and Sabine Field are open in keeping with state and federal guidelines.
Thank you for your understanding and support in these challenging times. Like you, I look forward to the return to normal campus activities, including athletics, as soon as possible.
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Mark C. Anarumo, PhD
Col, USAF (Ret) President