In a news release sent late Thursday morning, the Northern Sun Conference announced that it has cancelled the fall sports season and all sports activities through the end of the year.
In light of the NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to direct all institutions and conferences to meet specific requirements to conduct fall sports and the NCAA Division II Presidents Council’s announcement that all NCAA Division II fall championships are canceled, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s Board of Directors has canceled NSIC fall competition & championships, and has suspended all athletic competition through Dec. 31, 2020.
“After weeks of monitoring the national landscape, along with countless hours of planning and deliberation, NSIC leadership ultimately came to the decision to cancel fall conference championships and suspend competitions through December,” stated Athletic Director Mike Powicki. “This Decision was incredibly difficult, but was sincerely made with the health and safety of all NSIC student-athletes and campuses in mind.”
“We fully understand there are many questions to answer for our student-athletes and stakeholders. While we need to accept that the 2020-21 year is not going to look and feel as we all hoped, it will be our ultimate focus and goal at WSC to support our student-athletes and do everything in our power to provide the best possible experience during the coming year,” added Powicki.
The NSIC recognizes the value an NCAA championship experience provides for student-athletes and that was a factor in the analysis. However, health and safety concerns prevailed in the league’s decision. Additionally, current recommendations for testing, exposure, and quarantine make it very difficult for a season to be successfully completed at an institution or across the conference without severe disruptions.
“The league’s initial decision to delay the start of fall sports was made with the rationale to allow campuses the ability to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader university communities,” said NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind. “In light of the recent decisions made by the NCAA Board of Governors, it is no longer feasible to conduct outside competition this fall semester. Our student-athletes deserve a competitive experience that provides a greater degree of safety and certainty than current conditions would allow. We believe now is the right time to provide clarity to our student-athletes so we can turn our efforts towards helping institutions reopen and ensuring a safe return to campus to start the academic year.”
Although the NSIC will not conduct a league schedule for 2020 fall sports, competition is an integral part of the student-athlete experience, therefore, the membership is committed to exploring meaningful opportunities and experiences for fall student-athletes in the spring, if it can be done reasonably and safely.
The conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally, and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements, as necessary.
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