NAPERVILLE, Ill. –– With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to present challenges to the campuses and communities throughout the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the CCIW Council of Presidents, after thorough consideration of the new NCAA guidelines, announced the suspension of all fall intercollegiate sports. A decision on winter sports will be made in the coming weeks.
The CCIW will postpone all conference competition and championships for men's and women's cross country, football, women's golf, men's and women's soccer, women's tennis, and women's volleyball. Additionally, the Conference Office will explore the feasibility of opportunities for these teams to compete during the spring while maintaining full conference competition in spring sports.
As a result of the decision, the CCIW will move league championships for women's golf and women's tennis to the spring. The conference office will work with coaches to design a regular season schedule and determine dates for CCIW Championship competition.
"This decision was a very difficult one, both for the CCIW conference and for Illinois Wesleyan," President S. Georgia Nugent said. "We recognize how disappointing it will be for our student athletes not to have conference competition this fall. But we must put safety first, and the CCIW presidents, after many hours of deliberation, believe this is the right decision, in light of the heightened risk that travel and competition present."
"I am confident that our coaches and trainers will be thoughtful and creative in developing ways for our student athletes to remain engaged, conditioned, and ready to compete when that is possible," she added. "I especially want to thank our Director of Athletics, Mike Wagner, for his important contributions to planning, through his participation on the Fall Contingency Planning Committee and COVID Athletics Action Committee on campus, as well as representing Illinois Wesleyan on the Health and Safety Committee of CCIW."
"We worked very hard all summer at both the conference and institutional level to develop several scenarios that would allow us to return safely to full athletic competition," Athletic Director Mike Wagner shared. "However, one of the primary assumptions was that the spread of the virus and the number of active cases would be very low at the end of the summer months. Instead, a significant portion of the country is dealing with increases in both cases and hospitalizations. We will take this time to strengthen the mind and body, build leadership skills, hone individual skill development and enjoy team building exercises. We have an incredible staff and coaches who will do everything in their power to ensure our student-athletes will be able to enjoy unique and fulfilling experiences with their teammates in a way that will be safe and healthy for all involved."
Despite the CCIW conference-wide decision, IWU is exploring different ways of providing its student-athletes with meaningful opportunities to engage with their teammates, coaches, and support staff. Collectively, our coaches are working hard to find ways to provide skill development, conditioning, and other athletically-related activities for all teams in their traditional or non-traditional seasons will be permitted in accordance with NCAA Division III rules and campus, state, and NCAA health directives.
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By Katie Gonzales