While the fate of Unity College as a residential campus was decided on Monday, Aug. 3 when it was announced the school would transition to strictly online and hybrid learning, the press release from the institution included no additional information when it came to the school's athletic programs.

That fact also was not lost on the college's athletic director Zsakiytyah “Ziggy” Brown, who could offer no more clarity to what the future holds for Rams athletics and club sports.

“We’re all in a position where we don’t know the future right now,” she said. “I’ve been handling phone calls from parents and we’re just trying to figure out the best way to move forward.”

What is clear is that Unity College will not have athletics for the duration of the 2020-21 school year.

Unity College, part of the Yankee Small College Conference, offers men’s soccer, cross country, basketball and track and field, along with women’s cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track and field.

The YSCC is a Division II member of the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA).

Unity College also has a bevy of club sports such as a woodsman team, ice hockey, ultimate Frisbee and indoor soccer, in addition to intramural sports.

Unity College also has begun to explore selling its 240-acre campus on 90 Quaker Hill Rd.

Brown stressed no long-term plan has been announced for athletics at Unity College.

“For now, it’s on hold,” she said.

Unity College is not the first school in the conference to experience recent athletic setbacks. On Friday, July 21, the University of Maine at Machias announced the indefinite suspension of its intercollegiate sports. In addition, the University of Maine at Augusta announced the cancellation of fall sports for the 2020 season.

The impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been cited as a significant reason for college athletic seasons being postponed or cancelled, but Unity College's change to hybrid learning was not, officials stated, solely due to the pandemic.

The school's board of trustees’ decision to permanently transition the school to a hybrid learning model was announced on Monday, Aug. 3.

The release from the school and Joel Crabtree, associate director of media relations, stated hybrid learning grants students control over their education through a nonstandard calendar, shorter terms, differentiated tuition, and a multi-modality curriculum that does not rely on maintaining a physical campus.

The hybrid education, the release stated, allows students from around the globe and of all abilities to continue educational pursuits amid unprecedented events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that ended many education terms prematurely.

“While the financial impact of COVID-19 certainly expedited our plans, this transition to a fully hybrid model is not simply a reaction to the pandemic,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, president of Unity College. “It is a critical next step in helping Unity College thrive and better serve our students in the 21st century, while happening to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof.”

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.