EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Great Lakes Valley Conference’s (GLVC) Council of Presidents has voted to postpone the majority of the 2020 fall intercollegiate athletics season until the second semester, due to ongoing concerns of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They say the decision was made based on guidance from the league’s athletics directors and an extensive review of the recommended testing and safety measures developed by the NCAA Sport Science Institute.
Officials say the fall sports of football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball will have regular-season competition and GLVC Championships conducted in the second semester, while the sports of men’s and women’s cross country will still be permitted to compete this fall with the 2020 GLVC Cross Country Championships slated for Oct. 24.
Men’s and women’s golf and tennis will also be allowed to compete in their non-championship segments in the fall and continue their season into the spring when their respective championship seasons begin.
In addition, several winter sports are scheduled to begin their 2020-21 seasons as early as September. The sports of women’s bowling, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field will be permitted to compete as scheduled, while the Conference has established Oct. 1 as the deadline to determine the competition start date for the sports of men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling.
The spring sports of baseball and softball will be permitted to have only intrasquad competition on campus in the fall, while men’s and women’s lacrosse will be restricted from all competition until second semester.
The distinction between the sports stems from the sport classification put forth by the NCAA Sport Science Institute, based on a consensus by the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) COVID-19 Working Group. Bowling, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field were classified as low contact risk sports, while baseball, cross country, and softball were deemed medium contact risk.
The NCAA believes low and medium contact risk sports can successfully implement physical distancing and universal masking practices during all sport activities; however, the level of risk in cross country and track and field are dependent upon the student-athlete’s proximity to other unmasked individuals.
The sports in which those safety practices are deemed highly unlikely by the NCAA, including basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and wrestling, have been classified as high contact risk sports.
“Regrettably, we find ourselves having to make these difficult decisions in July similar to those made in mid-March, regarding the postponement of GLVC competition for football, soccer, and volleyball for the fall semester,” said GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich. “We remain optimistic that we can provide our student-athletes impacted by today’s news with meaningful opportunities to engage with their teammates and coaches throughout the fall semester to prepare for the planned return to competition in the spring. The GLVC and all 15 of our member institutions remain committed to prioritizing the health and welfare for all students, faculty, and staff, as well as, for the citizens that reside in the community that supports each school.”
Dr. Robert Manuel, University of Indianapolis President and Chair of the GLVC Council of Presidents, echoed those sentiments:
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the GLVC Council of Presidents and league athletics directors for the leadership they have shown during the vetting and decision-making process during these challenging times,” said Manuel. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, and those in our campus communities has been, and will continue to be, paramount throughout these unprecedented times.”
The GLVC becomes the 11th of the 23 NCAA Division II conferences to postpone fall competition.
The NCAA has yet to determine the final status of its fall national championships.
The GLVC’s scheduling committee will soon begin to determine second-semester, regular-season schedule models for all affected sports with health and safety, as well as, institutional facility, personnel, and cost-containment measures in mind.
In addition, dates and locations for all GLVC Championships will be announced at a later date.