|CIAA cancels 2020 football and cross country campaigns|
|Basketball pushed to January 2021|
|Published Friday, October 2, 2020 5:24 pm|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|The CIAA will not sponsor championships for football or cross country due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The league's winter sports season, which include basketball, opens on Jan. 9, 2021.|
The league announced in July that it would forgo the fall season due to COVID-19 concerns. Women’s volleyball, a sport traditionally played in the fall, will play its season in the spring. However, the league’s Athletic Directors Association recommended the conference not sponsor championship seasons for football or men’s and women’s cross country during the 2020-21 academic year, which was approved by the league’s board of directors.
The league, board of directors and ADA voted to begin winter sports, specifically men’s and women’s basketball, on Jan. 9, 2021. A definitive start date for men’s and women’s indoor track and field, as well as women’s bowling will be announced at a later date. Basketball will consist of a 16-game conference schedule. Teams will have the option of playing a maximum of six non-conference games. League-wide COVID-19 testing protocols will be established, and must be adhered to by each team prior to competition.
“Delaying the start of our winter seasons acts in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff as it ensures proper resocialization for all parties while affording our membership the opportunity to implement recommended health and safety measures prior to competition,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said in a statement. “Although unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances this year will prohibit athletic seasons for some, we remain committed to bolstering opportunities that amplify the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, partners and fans.”
Said Virginia State President and CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah: “Throughout this process our board, the ADA, and conference staff have been consistent about the safety and well-being of our students and staff being the number one priority. Despite some tough decisions, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all of our membership is in the best possible position for the foreseeable future.”
Spring sports are anticipated to proceed on schedule, unless the NCAA Division II introduces legislation that would impact the season. Football programs will be allowed to conduct spring practice, league spokesman Ben Baxter said.
“The leadership within our conference remains committed to ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Decisions of this magnitude, while never easy, are made with those factors as the primary focus,” Bowie State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation and CIAA ADA President Clyde Doughty said. “These are unprecedented times for all of us and we continue to work collectively to identify the solutions that act in the best interest of our membership.”
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