FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington is pleased to announce that it plans to return to regular varsity athletic conference schedules and championships during the 2021-22 academic year.

This positive news comes after a year of a restricted participation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Spring 2020 and the 2020-21 academic year were challenging for students throughout the country, including college athletes. Seasons and competition were cancelled, and when competition slowly resumed it was with significant efforts and restrictions including testing, masking and distancing. By the end of spring 2021, all varsity teams had at least a taste of competition and even some spectators were allowed to return.

“I can say that all of our varsity teams and staff did a remarkable job of working with the ever changing variables this last year to make the most of it. We trained and supported one another, we spent more time on some holistic development than we normally find time to, we committed time and other resources to diversity, equity and inclusion work, and we continued these things as we started to resume competition,” said Julie Davis, director of athletics, fitness and recreation.

“We persisted, I’m proud of them and us. We made it and now we are in good shape to return to competition and all the developmental work that makes the student-athlete experience fulfilling and that also adds to the vibrancy and experience of the larger University and community,” said Davis.

Looking forward, UMF’s 15 NCAA and six USCSA snow sports representing nearly 300 student-athletes are ready to resume a more typical and robust experience.  The athletics staff return to full swing in early August, followed by the fall sport student-athletes for pre-season before classes. “Spring sport fall ball” and winter sports will all be up and running over the course of the semester.

The North Atlantic Conference president’s council recently announced the membership plan to return to play. Field hockey is in the New England Collegiate Conference, who has also announced it will proceed.

“This is great news for our student-athletes, coaches and the entire Farmington campus,” said Edward Serna, UMF president. “The responsible actions we have taken to limit the virus’ spread are yielding the positive results we hoped for, and we look forward to a more normal and vibrant campus in the fall.”

All plans remain contingent on the continued decline of the virus, ensuring the health and safety of participants at all levels.