GAC announces its protocols for spring sports
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — The Great American Conference announced its Council of Presidents approved a series of return-to-play protocols that the league will implement in conjunction with the start of the spring sport seasons.
For volleyball, teams must have seven healthy players to compete. Teams with six or fewer players due to positive tests or contact tracing will not be able to participate, resulting in a no-contest. Making up contests lost to COVID-19 issues may be made up but will not be mandatory. Any makeup contest will count in the league standings.
All personnel and student-athletes will properly wear face coverings. The lone exemptions from this requirement go to players and officials actively participating in the contest.
All 12 teams will qualify for the GAC Championships and conference win-loss percentage will determine seeding. The higher seeds will host first round and quarterfinal contests on April 6 and 8. The final four will be hosted on a campus location on April 10 and 11.
The league’s season will feature a 10-game divisional schedule with an opening night slated for January 26 with four contests — Arkansas-Monticello at Harding, Southern Arkansas at Henderson State, Southeastern Oklahoma State at Oklahoma Baptist and Arkansas Tech at Ouachita. One day later, East Central visits Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Oklahoma State faces Southern Nazarene.
For soccer, baseball and softball, athletes and coaches must wear face masks at all times when not actively participating in a practice or contest. Coaches must wear a mask when conversing with student-athletes and when social distancing is not possible.
In tennis coaches, players, team personnel and event staff will be required to wear masks or face coverings. The lone exceptions go for players actively competing and for officials chairing a match.
Additionally, by unanimous consent, the Council agreed to extend the prohibition of fans at GAC indoor events through contests of January 31.
The GAC will continue to evaluate NCAA, federal, state and local developments and provide updated revisions as further information becomes available.