MIAA postpones fall sports, will explore spring options

FHSU Sports Information
Fort Hays State University wide receiver Manny Ramsey catches the ball for a touchdown against Northwest Missouri during a game last season at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays.

The MIAA announced on Friday (Aug. 14) the suspension of competition for fall sports until no earlier than January 1, 2021, following the NCAA Board of Governors' directives (released August 5), which require NCAA institutions to meet specific requirements if they are to conduct NCAA fall sports during the preseason, regular season, and postseason.

On August 5, the NCAA Board of Governors directed schools and conferences must meet the recently released Return-to-Sport Guidelines set forth by the NCAA Sport Science Institute, which address COVID-19 testing requirements. Just a few hours following that announcement, the NCAA Division II Presidents Council made the decision to cancel NCAA Fall Championships for the sports of football, women's volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, and field hockey.

Leadership from MIAA member schools met multiple times in the days following to address the change in directives from the NCAA Board of Governors. These discussions ultimately resulted in the MIAA CEO Council announcing the suspension of fall sports until no earlier than the start of the 2021 calendar year.

The MIAA will continue to explore the possibility of a limited number of competitions in football, volleyball, and women's soccer in the spring, as permitted by the NCAA. FHSU men's soccer is a member of the Great American Conference and will be subject to its directives.

"The health and well-being of MIAA student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and our communities continues to be the Association's top priority," stated Steve Scott, President of Pittsburg State University and chairperson of the MIAA CEO Council. "The MIAA is taking these important actions today to help our athletic departments comply with these new NCAA requirements, and to assist our campuses as we continue to address this public health crisis."

NCAA athletic related activities (for all MIAA sports), including in-season practices, out-of-season practices, weight training, team related meetings, and voluntary workouts directed by staff or in institutional facilities will be permitted this fall based on each institution's ability to comply with the August 11th NCAA Policy Clarifications release regarding the requirements to conduct fall sports (non-competition) activities.

The MIAA will delay a decision on the winter sports competition schedule until October 1 at the latest. As it stands right now, basketball and wrestling schedules begin in November. Spring sports of golf and tennis will not play the fall portion of their 2020-21 schedule.

"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," added MIAA Commissioner Mike Racy.

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. The MIAA will continue to place the health, safety, and well-being of MIAA student-athletes, coaches, and administrators as its top priority.