OSWEGO, N.Y. – The State University of New York Athletic Conference has canceled its 2017 Baseball Championship originally scheduled May 5-7 at SUNY Oswego due to the saturating weather forecast.
As the top seed and by conference operating code, No. 9/9 Oswego has been declared the 2017 SUNYAC Champion and will receive the automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship. The four-team championship was also set to feature Cortland, Brockport and New Paltz. Teams that do not earn automatic qualifiers are eligible for at-large berths based on a variety of NCAA criteria for Division III baseball.
"This was not an easy decision," Tom Di Camillo, commissioner of the SUNYAC, said, "but the forecast did not predict an opening to get even one game of the tournament completed. Cancelling a conference championship is the absolute last resort, but this relentless weather forecast left the conference with no other option."
Di Camillo had been in constant contact with the athletic directors of the four participating teams, as well as the assigning umpire for the conference, for several days leading up to the decision that came at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday night. The conference originally delayed the start of the tournament until Saturday pushing the event into Monday, the absolute final day that competition could be played.
"We lost our flexibility when we were forced to start on Saturday because of Friday's forecast," Di Camillo explained. "And now the forecast for the rest of the weekend is for high probability of rain with even the possibility of light snow on Monday."
The reality, according to Di Camillo, is that baseball is the most challenging of all the SUNYAC Championships to play in inclement weather because it is a unique field, the games have no specific time limits, and you are dealing with the potential of starting and stopping games that negatively affects pitchers.
"Ultimately, we talk about the student-athlete experience," Di Camillo said, "so we had to ask ourselves, what was this experience going to be like for them? We have student-athletes scheduled for finals starting Monday. We had the real possibility of bringing teams to Oswego for two to three days to sit in a hotel and not play a single game. We had Oswego – which has done an incredible job - putting its staff and resources into getting a baseball field ready only to see all of its work rapidly undone each time it rained. We would be putting student-athletes in a position to play a sport under extremely difficult conditions. This was the right decision, albeit a difficult one."
The Lakers will make their third-straight appearance in the national tournament. Oswego will find out where it will play by an NCAA press release scheduled to be made public late on Sunday, May 14.