One day after the Ivy League announced it was canceling fall sports, the same thing is happening at the NCAA Division II level.
Two D-2 leagues — the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAA) — announced Thursday that they were continuing to suspend all sports and championship events through the fall 2020 seasons because of continuing concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement from the two leagues, “The CIAA and SIAC both appreciate and understand the significant impact that today’s announcements with regard to the status of 2020 fall sports. Both the CIAA and SIAC enjoy athletic related events, traditions, and rivalries that date back over 100 years. However, in light of the increased health and safety risks confronting much of the country, today the CIAA and SIAC affirm that the welfare of our student-athletes is sacrosanct and must preempt all other considerations when evaluating any return to competition efforts.”
The CIAA was founded in 1912 and is the first and longest running African American athletic conference in the country. It has 12 schools in the middle Atlantic and south Atlantic states — Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
These states have been experiencing dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases. This 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 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,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said in a release.
The conference will explore the possibility of a modified schedule for football and volleyball as well as men’s and women’s cross country during the spring of 2021. Additionally, CIAA membership has unanimously agreed to honor athletic scholarships for their fall sports student-athletes.
The 13-school SIAC has primarily historically black colleges and universities in six states — Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio.
Again, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in the Southeastern states.
“The decision to extend the SIAC suspension into the fall of 2020 was guided by the prevailing data, science as well as current coronavirus infection trajectories,” SIAC Council of President Chairman George T. French Jr. said in a release.
The SIAC also will look into moving some fall sports to next spring.
Two NCAA Division II conferences announced Thursday that they are canceling their fall sports seasons:
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association — Bowie State, Claflin, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Johnson C. Smith, Lincoln (Pa.), Livingston, Saint Augustine’s, Shaw, Virginia State, Virginia Union, Winston-Salem.
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association — Albany State, Benedict, Central State (Ohio), Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Kentucky State, Lane, LeMoyne-Owen, Miles, Morehouse, Savannah State, Spring Hill, Tuskegee.