(WBTV) - Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) has decided to suspend its 2020 fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference released a statement on Thursday. One of the main reasons is due to the ongoing safety concerns with the virus, and that several schools are located in states that are seeing dramatic increases in coronavirus cases.
The conference continued that it remains uncertain whether or not students will return to campus at several CIAA schools.
“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 conference says it will explore the possibility of playing a modified schedule for some of the spring sports, including football, during the spring.
The conference also says it will 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,” states Virginia State University President & 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.”
If a move to the spring is adopted, revised game and practice schedules will be established along with the process of determining conference champions for these respective sports.
A time frame on this decision has yet to be determined.
“The safety, health, and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff are non-negotiable. Decisions of this magnitude are made with those factors as number one priority while looking to address current issues that have an adverse impact on all of us,” said Clyde Doughty, Bowie State VP of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation and President of CIAA Athletic Directors Association. “These are unprecedented times and our conference continues to work together to identify the best solutions that address the concerns impacting our ability to participate and exist.”
Decisions concerning winter and spring sports will be discussed as efforts to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases progress.