CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced on Wednesday morning that it is suspending all sports competition until Jan. 1, 2021.
The GLIAC said the decision was made unanimously by their Council of Presidents and Chancellors after a thorough evaluation of COVID-19 risks and safety protocols.
GLIAC said student-athletes will still be able to practice and participate in athletic training programs following NCAA, institutional, local, and state guidelines.
In the meantime, GLIAC said it will continue to plan how competitions can continue in the second semester, as well as the winter and spring sports schedules.
"This is a heartbreaking announcement because it interrupts the dreams of our student-athletes who have worked hard to get ready for their respective seasons. It's disappointing for our loyal fan base because it loses one of the things that brings it such joy. Dejection will hit our coaches and staff as well, these games are a big point of their lives," said Al King, AU Director of Athletics. "However, health and safety sit at the top of our priority list and they always will. The correct call was made. We need to beat this opponent and look forward to the day when we can play again."
AU President Carlos Campo said, "Though the suspension of sports through the end of the year was the right decision for the health of our student-athletes, it will be very disappointing to our students, coaches, and fans. We put the health and welfare for all involved first, and remain hopeful that we can resume athletic competition in 2021."
"Our council of presidents and GLIAC athletic directors weighed this decision from every angle, hoping to find a feasible option for student-athletes to compete this fall, but in the end, the potential risks to student-athletes, coaches, support staff and fans made fall competition impossible," said Dr. Richard Pappas of Davenport University, who is the GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors chair for 2020-21. "Plans to provide fall teams with competition opportunities during the spring semester are a priority for the league. We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus so they can resume training, and our members remain devoted to providing a quality student-athlete experience despite these challenging circumstances."
"The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult," GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said. "After thoroughly reviewing federal, state, and NCAA SSI (Sport Science Institute) and Board of Governor's guidelines, it became apparent that conducting contests and championships this fall was insurmountable. My frustration and sadness for the coaches, student-athletes, families and fans is unmitigated. The league will continue to work on protocols for a safe return for our athletic programs, with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff taking the highest priority."
The GLIAC is made up of:
- Ashland University (which is in its final year of membership in the conference)
- Ferris State
- Grand Valley State
- Lake Superior State
- Michigan Tech
- Northern Michigan
- Purdue Northwest
- Saginaw Valley State
- Wayne State