NAIA moves fall championships to spring of 2021

(Information provided by EOU Athletics)

LA GRANDE – “We are very pleased that the NAIA Council of Presidents have taken a proactive approach and moved the fall sport championships that the CCC participates in to the spring of 2021,” stated CCC Commissioner Robert Cashell. “This decision, which mirrors our conference decision made earlier, provides our schools an opportunity to plan for a successful campus opening and hopefully a sustained fall term of in-person educational delivery without the added pressure of travel and competition this fall in what is still a very unpredictable state of affairs with COVID-19.” 

The NAIA put out this statement to its members:

After reviewing feedback from conferences and committees, the Council of Presidents (COP) voted today to postpone the national championships in cross country, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball to spring 2021. This decision still allows NAIA conferences to compete in the fall and winter, if they so choose. The timing of the football national championship will be determined at a subsequent COP meeting on Friday, July 31. Due to unique challenges surrounding football, COP members decided they needed more time to obtain feedback from their colleagues.

Given the fast-paced and constantly changing nature of the current environment, the COP recognized that the likelihood of safely completing the fall sports season has decreased significantly. This decision allows conferences the autonomy to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 when determining the appropriate time for regular season competition. It also increases flexibility by permitting a current, split, or entirely postponed regular season, all of which can precede postseason play.

In light of this decision, the COP also opted to provide more flexibility in its current testing mandate of requiring a PCR test of all fall student-athletes seven days prior to competition. The types of viral testing, their availability and cost, the turn-around times involved, and the local or regional public stances regarding testing vary greatly across the county. Given this variability and complexity, the NAIA determined it was inappropriate to require a single testing protocol for all its members. Rather, the NAIA strongly recommends that individual conferences and institutions consider very carefully the best way to deploy COVID testing to support the safe return to athletics.

Prior to the COP’s vote, 51 NAIA institutions have already opted to postpone fall competition until spring 2021.

We realize there are a wide-range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships. Our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week. This process will be similar to how the NAIA handled the cancellation of spring sports and the ACT/SAT accommodations made for student-athletes this summer.

We are developing FAQs related to the fall season postponement. Please email any questions to covid19info@naia.org.