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Southland Conference pushes start date to September 1

The announcement made Friday does not currently impact football. The Bears are still scheduled to open their season Aug. 31 against Austin Peay

FRISCO, Texas — The Southland Conference has announced its member institutions will not participate in volleyball and soccer competition through August 31, 2020. Beginning September 1, Southland members will have the discretion to participate in non-conference volleyball and soccer competition prior to the Conference portion of the 2020 schedules.

The membership of the Southland Conference remains focused on the safety and health of its student-athletes, coaches and other participants, and this delay allows athletic departments to continue following recommended protocols and guidelines set forth by the NCAA, and local health, government and institutional leaders.

“We believe this gives us a little more time to ensure our protocols will be in place and appropriate for the health and safety of all involved,’ said Dr. Brad Teague, UCA director of athletics.

The UCA women’s soccer program will be forced to rescheduled or drop a home exhibition game with Arkansas State (Aug. 14), regular-season road matches at Missouri State (Aug. 23) and at Memphis (Aug. 30), and a home matchup against Little Rock (Aug. 30) as part of the Governor’s I-40 Showdown.

UCA soccer will now opens the 2020 season at UL-Monroe in Monroe, La., on Sept. 3.

The volleyball Sugar Bears were scheduled to play at Missouri State on Aug. 22 and against Colorado and Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Nike Invitational Norman, Okla., on Aug. 29. Volleyball will now open the season in the SMU Doubletree Invitational beginning on Sept. 4 in Dallas.

UCA’s men’s and women’s cross country teams were not scheduled to begin their seasons until after Sept. 1.

UCA’s men’s soccer program, which competes in the Sun Belt Conference, was forced to change its schedule on Thursday when the league announced a similar plan to begin fall sports competition on Sept. 3. The Bears had to eliminate and/or reschedule five games (three exhibitions, two regular-season games). The Bears will now begin their season at home on Sept. 4 vs. Air Force.

UCA’s football opener against Austin Peay on Aug. 29 in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff in Montgomery, Ala., is not affected at this time.