The Ohio Athletic Conference, made up of NCAA Division III schools across the state, announced a preliminary spring schedule Thursday for fall sports postponed last month because of concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Football, soccer and women's volleyball are expected to start on the weekend of March 12, 2021 and end on April 16, including championship games.
The schedules will feature conference-only games and will allow all student-athletes to keep one of their four seasons of participation.
The following was released by the OAC:
The Conference will split into two divisions, East and West. The East Division includes Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll, Marietta, Mount Union and Muskingum. The West Division includes Capital, Heidelberg, Ohio Northern, Otterbein and Wilmington.
Each team will play the other four teams in its division (two home, two road) over a five week period with each team receiving a bye. All games are scheduled on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m., beginning on Friday, March 12.
On Friday, April 16, the top seeds of each division will meet for the OAC Championship. The two-seeds will also play as well as the three-seeds, four-seeds and five-seeds. The East Division will host the #1, #3 and #5 games, while the West Division will host #2 and #4.
Men’s and women’s soccer will take the originally-scheduled fall 2020 round robin and move it to the spring, beginning on Sunday, March 14. The men and women will play at opposite sites each Sunday and Thursday (Monday, April 5 after Easter). Sunday contests will begin at 2:00 p.m., while Thursday matches are either 4:00 or 7:00 p.m. at the host’s discretion.
On Sunday, April 18, the top seed will host the second seed for the Conference Championship. The third-seed will host the fourth-seed, etc., so that all 10 teams play 10 contests.
Women’s volleyball will take the originally-scheduled fall 2020 round robin and move it to the spring, beginning on Friday, March 12. Matches will be played every Friday night and Tuesday night until the regular season ends on Friday, April 9. Each date will feature a doubleheader match, resulting in a Conference double-round robin, with games starting at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.
After April 9, the league will be seeded from one to 10 with the top four teams earning a spot in the Conference final four, played on Tuesday, April 13. The highest remaining seed will host the next highest remaining seed on Friday, April 16 for the OAC Championship. The two non-winners on Tuesday will also meet at the higher seed to complete an 11-date season.
The six teams not making the final four will also be afforded 11 dates of competition during the week of April 12 by scheduling closer geographic matches at institutional discretion.
The winter sports of basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving and wrestling will have competition postponed in 2020 but there are plans to resume in January 2021.
The OAC features the following ten schools: Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, Marietta College, the University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, Otterbein University and Wilmington College.