Fall sports suspended for WIAC and Midwest Conference

There will be no sports at St. Norbert College, Ripon College and Lawrence University for the rest of 2020.
UWO Football
UWO Football(WBAY Staff)
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 1:31 PM CDT
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GRINNELL, Iowa (WBAY) - The sports world continues to be impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Midwest Conference and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference have both released statements concerning sports in the Fall season.

There will be no sports at St. Norbert College, Ripon College and Lawrence University for the rest of 2020. Meanwhile, the WIAC has cancelled conference seasons and championships for fall sports.

“We did everything we could over the past couple of months to develop schedules, event management protocols and testing policies so that we could compete this fall,” said MWC Executive Director Heather Benning. “However, due to the recent sustained surge of cases across the country, and a lack of guaranteed access to timely and reliable testing with the frequency recommended by the NCAA, the Conference does not feel it is in a position to sponsor intercollegiate athletic competition at this time.”

St. Norbert College Athletics Director, Tim Bald, stated it’s COVID-19 making the call on this one.

“The pandemic is determining the state of affairs with a number of things including athletics,” Bald said. “We have come to this decision after months of work and working on it as a conference and each institution is lined up now. The presidents made their decision this morning and are looking forward to making the best of this situation for our student-athletes across the conference.”

Bald also discussed the possibility of teams still practicing and staying engaged during the season. However, to have an actual Fall season under the NCAA protocol for COVID-19, it would cost St. Norbert an estimated $400,000. For an entire athletic year at SNC, that number would be around a million dollars.

ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: https://midwestconference.org/documents/2020/7/27//MWC_COVID_19_FAQ_7_27_20.pdf?id=2510

The conference says it will resume competition “when it is deemed safe to do so.”

“After considering all of the health and safety factors involved with competition, the MWC has suspended league competition for our teams through December 31. Individual return-to-play protocols will be in place at each member institution to allow for meaningful team experiences for their student-athletes, which could include opportunities for practice, small-group training, skill development, and/or strength and conditioning within the parameters of federal, state, institutional, conference and NCAA guidance,” reads a statement from the conference.

In the WIAC release, it states “institutions will retain the autonomy to establish practice opportunities within the limitations stipulated by the NCAA throughout the 2020-21 academic year."

However, some sports like women’s tennis and women’s golf will be moved to the 2020-21 spring term.

The WIAC also said determinations on the winter sports season will be decided at a late date.

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