MASCAC Approves The Return of Spring Athletics


-Lorenzo DeMalia

Student-athletes were met with a welcomed surprise as the eight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Presidents approved a plan that will allow spring sports to resume competitive action. Among the sports approved were baseball, men’s golf, women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. The announcement came on Friday, March 12, almost exactly a whole calendar year since MASCAC canceled the remainder of spring athletics in 2020. That announcement was made on Monday, March 16 of last year. 

“The MASCAC continues to meet regularly with the presidents, athletic directors, athletic trainers, and other essential staff as we bring our student-athletes back to the playing field, safely, while adhering to all state, federal and NCAA guidelines,” MASCAC commissioner Angela Bauman said in a statement released to the Fitchburg State website. “It is our intention to have these athletic events as long as the conditions allow us to move forward safely. The MASCAC office and eight MASCAC Presidents will be monitoring practices and competition to ensure the continued health and safety of our student-athletes and staff.”

While having sports back is a welcomed and encouraging sight, the MASCAC board made sure to emphasize the continued importance of safety. As a part of this effort, the baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse teams will play the same team each week. This is meant to limit the amount of travel the teams are making as well as to ensure proper protocols are being followed. Also, both men’s golf and track and field will be allowed to play for a championship this spring season. 

The MASCAC presidents additionally left the option to resume sports in the hands of each individual university. As well as deciding if they want to play out of conference games, although it should be noted any team playing a MASCAC team would have to follow the same health and safety protocols. The board of presidents ruled out any out-of-state games this semester for any spring sports. 

Along with the resumption of spring sports, MASCAC also approved fall and winter athletics to continue their practices as long as they follow the health and safety protocols required. MASCAC was very transparent about the responsibility students have in order to allow sports to be played without stoppage. Student-athletes will finally get to make their long-awaited debut in an FSU uniform or play out their final days as their senior year comes to a close. Still, FSU, as well as the rest of MASCAC, has the ability to stop athletics if it’s in the greater interest of the health and safety of the university

The FSU men’s baseball team will throw out the first pitch of the 2021 season on Friday, March 26, followed by the softball team starting their season later that day. Following state guidelines, no fans will be allowed to attend any of the games played as of now. The university did say “this policy may be revisited for outdoor sports if conditions improve and subject to state and local health authorities’ guidance.” For now all games can be watched online at the MASCAC official website.