by Calvin Larson, Director of Athletics Communication
Following a thorough evaluation of all COVID-19 risks and safety protocols, and numerous meetings involving various GLIAC governance groups, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday (Aug. 11), to suspend all sports competition until Jan. 1, 2021.
“Our council of presidents and GLIAC athletic directors weighed this decision from every angle, hoping to find a feasible option for student-athletes to compete this fall, but in the end, the potential risks to student-athletes, coaches, support staff and fans made fall competition impossible,” said Dr. Richard Pappas of Davenport University, who is the GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors chair for 2020-21. “Plans to provide fall teams with competition opportunities during the spring semester are a priority for the league. We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus so they can resume training, and our members remain devoted to providing a quality student-athlete experience despite these challenging circumstances.”
GLIAC student-athletes will have opportunities to practice and take part in athletic training programs in adherence to NCAA, institutional, local, and state guidelines.
“The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult,” GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said. “After thoroughly reviewing federal, state, and NCAA SSI (Sport Science Institute) and Board of Governor’s guidelines, it became apparent that conducting contests and championships this fall was insurmountable. My frustration and sadness for the coaches, student-athletes, families, and fans is unmitigated. The league will continue to work on protocols for a safe return for our athletic programs, with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff taking the highest priority.”
Further, the GLIAC will continue to gather information and monitor developments in order to best determine a competitive structure during the second semester. The winter and spring sports competition calendar will be announced at a later date.
With today’s GLIAC announcement, Michigan Tech is postponing the biannual Sports Hall of Fame induction, the dedication of the VIP Champions Pavilion and Kearly Stadium Press Box, and the 1990 football reunion until the fall of 2021. The Sports Hall of Fame induction will now be held in back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022.
“This is an extremely difficult decision that the GLIAC had to make,” Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret said. “Our top priority moving forward is to continue to support our student-athletes in every way possible to make sure they have a quality academic and athletic experience.
“We have a robust surveillance testing plan with daily symptom monitoring that will allow us to still hold skill instruction, strength and conditioning, and provide other developmental opportunities to build our student-athletes for seasons to come. Our coaches will face these challenges head-on and develop plans moving forward to support our Huskies.
“We thank our fans, alumni, and supporters for understanding and patience as we navigate through these difficult times.”