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CIAA cancels fall sports

From staff and wire reports

The Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference have suspended fall sports and championship events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The leagues announced the move Thursday and issued a joint statement, saying that “the welfare of our student-athletes is sacrosanct and must preempt all other considerations when evaluating any return to competition efforts.”

In its release, the CIAA said it would explore a possible modified competition schedule for football, volleyball and cross country for the spring. There is no time frame for making that decision. The league, based in Charlotte, said it would discuss plans for winter and spring sports.

Atlanta-based SIAC said it would also look at moving some fall sports such as football into the spring.

A news release on the decision noted  that several CIAA member schools, such as Livingstone College, are located in states experiencing dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases. This recent rise in cases has led to a pause in phased reopening plans in many of these states, resulting in uncertainty as to whether students will return to campus this fall at several member institutions.

“This was a difficult decision but remains consistent with our long-standing priority of always acting in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches and support staff,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “While there will be no athletic competition in the fall, we will continue to support opportunities that enhance the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, and partners.”

The CIAA membership unanimously agreed to honor athletic scholarships for their fall sports student-athletes.

“The main priority of the Board and conference is the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” said Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah. “Although this decision is not ideal, it does afford all of us an opportunity to continue working through best practices to ensure our communities as a whole are in the best possible position moving forward.”

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