Middlebury College, Vt. Brew call off games

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College athletes set to compete this weekend in NCAA championship events — including the Panther women’s hockey team — instead headed home after NCAA officials called off all such competitions as a measure to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In addition the Vermont Brew Professional Arena Football Team, which had planned to host games in Middlebury’s Memorial Sports Center, announced it has cancelled its inaugural 2020 season due to the COVID-19 threat. Team officials said in a press release they “will look to return in 2021.”

The college cancellations included the NCAA Division III quarterfinal the women’s hockey team was set to host on Saturday afternoon. College officials had originally opted to play the game, vs. Endicott, without allowing fans to attend.

But those plans went out the window when the NCAA board of governors on Thursday chose to end all competitions immediately, including the popular Division I men’s basketball tournament widely known as March Madness.

According to an NCAA statement, “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Panther track and field athletes and swimmers planning to attend D-III championship meets had already been prevented from going by a school policy adopted early this week that banned student travel for any reason.

The Middlebury ski team had already traveled to Bozeman, Montana, for the NCAA championship in that event, which began on Wednesday. The Panthers were in third place after two days before the NCAA edict canceled the final two days of the competition.


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