CANADA WEST, OUA, AUS AND OCAA POSTPONE 2020 FALL SEASON
College and University sports in parts of Canada have been postponed for the upcoming season as per multiple announcements Monday morning.
Member organizations within U Sports and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), the governing bodies of university and college athletics in Canada respectively, put out statements postponing the upcoming fall season in Canada West, OUA and AUS in U Sport and the OCAA in the CCAA.
The affected championships at the university level include men’s and women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s cross-country women’s rugby and football. In the OCAA, the sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, women’s softball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s rugby and men’s baseball. Coaches and players alike were notified by their institutions as the statements were released.
“I’m gutted,” former goalkeeper at McMaster and former University of Toronto women’s soccer assistant coach Kieran Doyle-Davis said in an interview. “Obviously the schools have to do what they think they need to do to stay safe and that comes first. But it really sucks that this is the situation we’re in.”
“I especially feel bad for the seniors who this was their final year.”
The U Sports announcement was in conjunction with three conferences, AUS, Canada West and OUA. The RSEQ conference in Quebec has yet to decide on the fall season. Quebec actually is in “return to play” mode as of today, and according to timelines will make their considerations starting June 15th .
In the CCAA tier, the OCAA made their announcement official as well. The remaining college associations have yet to make decisions. The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference will be holding a meeting June 25th to make their decision.
The decision comes on the heels of the institutions moving to a hybrid learning systems to combat the COVID-19 crisis. With most, if not all, classes going online, the athletic associations knew they would be hard pressed to get athletes on campus to participate in events. They were in conversation with health officials and the governing bodies of the respective universities and colleges prior to the decision being made.
“Although the Canadian sport system is working together to create evidence-based return to training, practice and competition protocols, it is not currently feasible or safe due to the COVID-19 Pandemic for U SPORTS to be able to offer fall championships given the academic realities of student-sport,” saidDr. Taryn Taylor, U SPORTS Chief Medical Officer and representative on the Own the Podium Return to Sport Task Force in the U Sports statement. “We continue to work with public health officials across the country to examine possibilities for return to play for the winter 2021 term.”
There were similar sentiments in every announcement Monday.
There are still questions that need to be asked over the coming weeks. Graduating athletes will be curious if they will get a grandfathered exception to be able to play without being enrolled in their schools. Sports that span multiple semesters (i.e. basketball, volleyball and hockey) will be looking for an idea of when they will be able to return to training.
There will be further updates as things become more clear.
Story by Robert “Nick” McVicar