TYLER -- Texas College will forego intercollegiate athletics in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Dwight J. Fennell, TC president, announced on Thursday.

Those sports include football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

Along with the athletic announcement, Dr. Fennell said all classes will be conducted online in the fall.

Though foregoing the 2020 season, the college will maintain its “issuance of athletic scholarships for the enrolled athletes,” an email from TC said. Additionally, this same commitment extends to institutional scholarships for extracurricular groups, such as band and choir participants.

The college said it conducted a thorough and extensive assessment of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the 126-year-old institution concluding it will host the fall 2020 academic term entirely online with a start date of Aug. 12 and concluding Nov. 20. The college’s decision to shift modalities is one centered on the safety and needs of students, faculty and staff, Fennell said.

“We have and continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that affects our community. It is from this foundation that decisions and plans are made,” Dr. Fennell said via email.

“Our efforts are not to compete with other entities and how they respond, but rather give consideration to the needs of our students, faculty and staff and internally assess what is needed for a safe environment pursuant to the resources we have available to us. With this as the backdrop of our planning, a decision has been made to offer online instruction only for the fall term.

“A continuous review will take place to establish what needs to be done for the spring term. And, with this as our focus, it should also be noted that we will suspend fall sports with the interest in returning with our sports programs for spring term.”

The Steers’ other sports include: men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track & field.

TC competes in the NAIA. The Steers football team is a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference, along with Arizona Christian University, Langston University (Oklahoma), Lyon College (Arkansas), Ottawa University (Arizona), Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Waxahachie), Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth) and Wayland Baptist University (Plainview).

Other TC sports compete in the Red River Athletic Conference, along with Huston-Tillotson University (Austin), Jarvis Christian College (Hawkins), LSU-Alexandria, LSU-Shreveport, Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio), Paul Quinn College (Dallas), Texas A&M University-Texarkana, University of Houston-Victoria, University of the Southwest (New Mexico) and Wiley College (Marshall).