MIAA utilizing patience in decision making

Rick Peterson Jr.
Fort Hays State University quarterback Chance Fuller takes the snap for a play against Missouri Southern last season at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays.

Before it considers giving up on fall sports, the MIAA will use every last bit of time available to weigh its options.

The MIAA announced this week it was delaying the start of fall sports. Under the new plan, practices won’t begin until the week of Aug. 31, and fall competition won’t start until the week of Sept. 28.

MIAA commissioner Mike Racy said the athletic directors unanimously agreed with the wait-and-see approach. Racy said the league still remains hopeful it can play sports in fall.

“In an emergency or in crisis, in a global pandemic that we’re in right now, time is your friend,” Racy told Jake Lebahn of WIBW-AM radio in Topeka. “That’s what the presidents have done. They’ve agreed to bide three of four weeks. As quickly as things have gone South as it relates to the health conditions in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma the last three of four weeks, they could certainly turn around and head the other direction that quickly.

“This plan provides two things. One, it gives us hope that we can still play fall sports. No. 2, it creates flexibility.”

Three NCAA Division II Conferences — the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — have already announced that they will not play sports in the fall.

“I’m not going to criticize or fault the other conferences across the country that have already checked out, thrown in the towel so to speak,” Racy said. “Frankly, for the MIAA, July 17th or 18th was way too early to make a decision that we weren’t going to be playing football or volleyball or cross country or soccer in the fall.”

A possibility for the MIAA is getting some fall competition in the fall and later resuming in the spring. That option could depend on whether the NCAA will move forward with fall championships. That decision is expected to be announced in the next couple weeks.

“I think all cards are on the table right now,” FHSU athletic director Curtis Hammeke said. “There’s talk about moving sports completely to spring, that’s been discussed. There’s been some discussion about overlapping semesters. Everything is being discussed and considered, it just hasn’t been finalized. I don’t think it will be for a while.”

The MIAA is scheduled to re-evaluate things in early August.

“Every week it’s just been constantly changing,” Hammeke said. “I think there will be a lot of movement in the coming weeks here.”

The 2020 MIAA Football Media Day has been postponed until Aug. 19 and will be a virtual event.

The schedule for the 2020 Virtual MIAA Football Day will be announced at a later date. The event can be watched live on The MIAA Network.