ECU volleyball’s Bri Wood spiking atop two Camel defenders with AAC logo in the background during a match against Campbell on Sept. 15, 2019.

Collegiate athletics have taken a financial hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which caused the cancellation of multiple collegiate postseason events. Multiple methods will continue to be taken in consideration to cut costs by East Carolina University’s athletics department.

The American Athletic Conference (AAC) is currently considering a regional scheduling format for Olympic sports, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Track and field, wrestling, volleyball and swimming are all known as Olympic sports at the collegiate level.

“We’re trying to figure out a regional way to schedule Olympic sports down the road,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “We’ve had some discussions about it, not extensive yet. It’s something that’s gaining traction and something we’re going to investigate.”

During the pandemic, the cancellation of major events like the NCAA Tournament in basketball and the College World Series in baseball have come about.

The Mid-American Conference or MAC will go without postseason tournaments in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, field hockey and women’s lacrosse, according to USA Today. With decisions like these made elsewhere, it should be less of a surprise that the AAC will consider regional scheduling for Olympic sports.

ECU recently cut four sports, which has been a common theme among AAC teams, such as the University of Cincinnati cutting its men’s soccer program. While not a member of the AAC, but an in-state competitor, Appalachian State University also cut ties with three of it’s sports programs in men’s soccer, men’s tennis and men’s indoor track and field.

“Temple doesn’t have to go to Wichita for a particular kind of sport or they don’t have to go to Tulsa or Houston,” Aresco said, according to Orlando Sentinel. “Same thing with UCF (University of Central Florida). Maybe they don’t have to go to Tulsa or Memphis. Maybe they can play more regionally, and they can play teams that have programs that are strong in areas that we’re strong in and we also can save money on travel.”

Regional scheduling would allow Olympic sports to create their own regular season schedule. With this scheduling, Aresco said he hopes to keep conference games an important factor during the season.

“If we did this regional scheduling, we could preserve the championships and seed people based on how they did in their regular seasons,” Aresco said, according to Orlando Sentinel. “The regular seasons, you would have flexibility. Down the road, could we tweak our championships? We just don’t know yet.”

The regional scheduling adjustment will not be implemented until the 2021-2022 season if it is deemed necessary, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

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