The Great Lakes Valley Conference Council of Presidents announced on Monday, July 27, that it voted to postpone a majority of the conference’s 2020 fall intercollegiate athletics season until the spring semester due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a release, the GLVC will conduct its football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer seasons, which include postseason championship events, in the spring while men’s and women’s cross-country will still be permitted to compete this fall.
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.
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 the spring 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 thinks 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.
GLVC Commission Jim Naumovich said his organization finds itself making difficult decisions similar to those it had to make back in mid-March.
“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,” Naumovich said. “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 is paramount.”