GORHAM — The winter athletic schedule for the University of Southern Maine Huskies will be shortened and the team will compete only against Maine and northern New England opponents because of precautions being taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The winter sports teams will compete in three home games and three away games that are within about a two-hour drive, USM said.

All athletes, the university reports, will undergo regular testing for the virus.

USM Director of Athletics Al Bean said the modified competition schedule allows competition to continue, but reduces travel time and eliminates the need for overnight stays.

“Our goal is to give our student-athletes an opportunity to continue to stay engaged with their teammates and continue to do something they love and that is central to their college experience,” Bean said. “We’re working hard to make it happen, but it’s all subject to change depending on the course of the pandemic.”

Team practices will begin Jan. 25, with the goal of starting the season in February.