The State University of New York Athletic Conference will split its 10-team conference in half for the upcoming fall season for men’s and women’s soccer as well as volleyball, per a decision from the SUNYAC Board of Directors on Monday, June 15.

The teams will be divided into an East Division and West Division, with I-81 serving as the separating line. O-State, Cortland, New Paltz, Plattsburgh and Potsdam make up the East, while Brockport, Buffalo State, Fredonia, Geneseo and Oswego fall into the West.

A double round-robin format will be followed with teams playing games on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The season is set to begin Sept. 30.

“The reality is that no playbook exists for conducting intercollegiate athletics during a pandemic,” Tom DiCamillo, commissioner of the SUNYAC, said in a media release. “So, like everyone else, we paused by cancelling our spring sports, collected our breath, and then began identifying the challenges of how to move forward.”

According to DiCamillo, lowering travel costs and reducing the health risk of the athletes and staff was the motivation behind splitting the conference.

“As a conference, we need to be proactive and use the best information available to make plans for the fall,” DiCamillo said. “However, if we have learned anything from this experience, it is that these are plans, the situation is fluid, and we need to take very methodical steps while being flexible - which is why we addressed the four fall sports with conference schedules first.”

Teams will play home-and-home sets with their divisional opponents, and the top two teams from each division will earn playoff berths. Playoff semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 4 while the championship is slated for Nov. 7.

The women’s tennis season will also be pushed to the spring of 2021 to align with NCAA championships. Eight of the 10 SUNYAC schools have tennis programs.

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