SPC Cancels Football, Other Fall Sports

The worst-case scenario has become reality for athletes and coaches in fall sports at SPC schools — they won’t play this season.

The SPC delivered the news on Friday, meaning that the 16-team conference won’t have any competitions this fall in football, volleyball, cross country, and field hockey because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

League officials cited travel as a primary factor, since the SPC membership extends from Oklahoma City to Houston. Most football programs make multiple road trips of more than 200 miles each season.

“We recognize we are members of a conference with a wide variance in local conditions, approaches and opinions regarding how to handle these challenging circumstances as they relate to athletic competition,” the SPC said in its brief statement. “Our member schools are located in multiple metro areas, spread over a wide geographic area, with varying health conditions, regulations, public opinions and governmental recommendations.”

The cancellation prematurely ends the high school careers for seniors in the aforementioned sports at St. Mark’s, ESD, Greenhill, Hockaday, and more.

Previously, the SPC said its member schools would begin practices on Sept. 8 and begin an abbreviated season schedule in late September before changing course on Friday.

“I certainly share in your disappointment regarding this news and know that this feeling is magnified for our seniors. I have been inspired by the resilient attitudes of our student-athletes during these challenging times,” said St. Mark’s athletic director Sean Lissemore in an open letter to students and parents late Friday. “In the event that health conditions improve sufficiently to make some limited athletic competition possible later in the fall, we will make every effort to provide our students with opportunities to engage with athletes from local peer schools.”

The SPC statement said officials will revisit winter and spring sports in the coming weeks, and will make a decision based on health circumstances and risk factors. The winter athletic season is slated to begin in early November.

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