|Charlotte-based CIAA, SIAC scratch fall athletics campaigns|
|Division II leagues move to protect participants|
|Published Thursday, July 9, 2020 6:00 pm|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|CIAA leaders voted Thursday to cancel the fall sports season, which includes football, cross country and volleyball.|
The NCAA Division II league, which is based in Charlotte, announced today that its board of directors and Athletic Directors Association voted to cancel the fall season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. League members unanimously agreed to honor athletic scholarships for fall sports student-athletes, which include football, cross country and volleyball. Nothing has been decided about winter and spring sports yet.
Seven of the league’s 13 schools are in North Carolina, where infection rates continue to rise. The increase in cases has delayed the state’s reopening, causing Gov. Roy Cooper to keep the state in phase two, rather than progressing to phase three, as was intended last month. The state will potentially enter phase three one July 17, but may be delayed again if the disease continues to spread.
“This was a difficult decision but remains consistent with our long-standing priority of always acting in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said in a statement. “While there will be no athletic competition in the fall, we will continue to support opportunities that enhance the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, and partners.”
The league’s ADA has recommended exploring adding modified football, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country schedules in the spring. The timeline for this decision remains to be determined. However, it would require a revised game and practice schedule, as well as how the league will determine conference champions.
“The main priority of the Board and conference is the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah said. “Although this decision is not ideal, it does afford all of us an opportunity to continue working through best practices to ensure our communities as a whole are in the best possible position moving forward.”
Said Clyde Doughty, Bowie State’s vice president of intercollegiate athletics and recreation and president of the CIAA’s ADA:
“The safety, health, and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff are non-negotiable. Decisions of this magnitude are made with those factors as number one priority while looking to address current issues that have an adverse impact on all of us.
The CIAA and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference issued a joint statement on canceling fall sports.
“The CIAA and SIAC both appreciates and understands the significant impact that today’s announcements with regard to the status of 2020 fall sports,” the leagues wrote. “Both the CIAA and SIAC enjoy athletic related events, traditions, and rivalries that date back over 100 years. However, in light of the increased health and safety risks confronting much of the country, today the CIAA and SIAC affirm that the welfare of our student-athletes is sacrosanct and must preempt all other considerations when evaluating any return to competition efforts.”
|I fully support the action. I'm glad the leaders of the conference put the students first. We will be back just as good as before.|
|Posted on July 13, 2020|
Send this page to a friend