The MIAA CEO Council announced emergency action for the association and its member institutions on Friday in regard to the 2020-21 athletic seasons and campus sport activities, postponing all fall sports until 2021.
An MIAA release said the emergency action comes as a result of the COVID-19 Global Health Pandemic, the NCAA announcement to cancel Fall National Championships and the recently released NCAA Board of Governors’ directives regarding the resocialization of collegiate sport.
All MIAA fall sport competitions will be suspended until Jan. 1, 2021. The association will continue to explore the possibility of a limited number of competitions in football, volleyball, men's soccer and women’s soccer in the spring, as permitted by the NCAA.
"We're obviously disappointed for our student-athletes, our coaches, our fans and our Washburn and Topeka communities," Washburn athletic director Loren Ferré said. "Putting the safety first for each of these groups was an extremely important factor in the decision that was made. Our student-athletes deserve a championship experience, and with NCAA fall championships being canceled, it certainly played a part in this decision.
"Ichabod student-athletes are resilient and they have worked hard this summer under the guidelines set forth by local government and the NCAA. Washburn's commitment to our student-athletes to help them navigate through this time is of utmost importance and working together we will do everything in our power to get to the other side of this challenging time."
Washburn President Jerry Farley also expressed his disappointment.
"Certainly, many of us are disappointed the fall sports season has been suspended," Farley said. "I am disappointed for our athletes and fans. The pandemic has impacted so many of our lives and activities. Athletics have been a wonderful aspect of the college experience. But the health and safety of our student-athletes and of our coaches has to be our primary goal. We hope that the situation will improve and we may be able to evaluate other options for winter and spring sports."
"The health and well-being of MIAA student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our communities continues to be the association's top priority," president Steve Scott, of Pittsburg State University, chairman of the MIAA CEO Council, said in a news release. "The MIAA is taking these important actions today to help our athletic departments comply with these new NCAA membership requirements, and to assist our campuses as we continue to address this public health crisis."
All NCAA athletically related activities (in all MIAA sports), including in-season practices, out-of-season practices, weight training, team athletically related meetings and voluntary workouts directed by staff or in institutional facilities shall be permitted this fall based on each institution’s ability to comply with the Aug. 11 NCAA Policy Clarifications document regarding the requirements for each division to conduct fall sports (non-competition) activities.
The MIAA said it will delay a decision on the winter sports competition schedule until Oct. 1 at the latest.
"The MIAA CEO Council will continue to monitor this fluid and evolving situation for college athletics, and make necessary changes to this plan per updated NCAA guidance and restrictions," MIAA commissioner Mike Racy said in the conference release.
Friday’s release stated that the MIAA leadership at member institutions will continue to work together and seek guidance from the NCAA on the NCAA Board of Governors’ directives and the resocialization of collegiate sport guidelines.