The University of New England announced Wednesday it will pursue an independent, nonconference schedule for all of its spring sports programs, to start as soon as March 27 and run through the end of the academic year.

Opponents for the spring season will be only from Maine and New Hampshire and will agree to a shared set of pandemic-related safety procedures. Safety procedures will include universal mask wearing and having no spectators in attendance.

UNE is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, which also announced Wednesday its intention to have a spring sports season. The other seven CCC teams are in Massachusetts or Rhode Island.

In a news release, UNE cited travel restrictions as a factor in its decision to forgo conference play. UNE offers men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, women’s track and field and men’s golf as varsity sports in the spring.

Currently, people traveling to Maine are required to show evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test or to quarantine for 10 days if coming from any state other than New Hampshire and Vermont.

“This move allows us to intentionally plan and schedule with enough time to thoughtfully control as many variables as possible,” said UNE Director of Athletics Heather Davis in the release. “Considering all the factors in front of us, we feel it gives us the best opportunity to successfully provide a safe and robust competitive experience for our spring student-athletes.”

The Commonwealth Coast Conference’s plan for league play requires COVID-19 testing for all athletes and team personnel twice per week, with a negative PCR test result required at least 72 hours before competition.

The UNE release also stated that its fall varsity teams “are pursuing one competitive opportunity later in the Spring semester.” The school offers football, women’s rugby, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey and volleyball as varsity sports in the fall.


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