MIAA suspends games until January

The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association announced the suspension of all fall sports through Jan. 1 due to COVID-19.

The University of Central Oklahoma will be without a football season this fall for the first time since 1945, which was the last of a three-year absence due to World War II, according to a release from Chris Brannick.

“Men’s and women’s golf, as well as tennis and rowing, all compete in the fall as well in a non-championship segment,” Brannick stated.

The association will delay a decision on the winter sports competition schedule until Oct. 1 at the latest. For Central this includes, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, and indoor track & field.

The announcement Friday follows the MIAA’s earlier decision to suspend football, volleyball, soccer, and cross country until Sept. 28. The NCAA’s decision to cancel all Division II and III fall sports championships followed.

Last week the NCAA, released new requirements that included covering all COVID-19 medical expenses for athletes arising from their participation in sports.

“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,” stated President Steve Scott of Pittsburg State University, chairperson of the MIAA CEO Council.

“Deliberations and discussions advanced through our MIAA conference revealed the multiple insurmountable challenges these [NCAA] requirements posed,” stated UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar. “The decision made by the MIAA leadership council was difficult and certainly not the preferred outcome.”

All of Central’s 14 varsity sports will still be permitted to practice according to the NCAA guidelines, Brannick stated.

The MIAA conference office has also canceled the 2020 MIAA Virtual Football Media Day in light of the suspension of the football schedule.

The Centers for Disease Control does not have guidance for adult sports leagues. However, according to the CDC website, “Organizations and administrators can reference the Considerations for Youth Sports  to find strategies for reducing exposure risks during sports competition.”

This story was updated at 6:50 p.m. on 8/15/2020.

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