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Valley City State cancels spring seasons

Valley City State University has canceled the final three weeks of its baseball and softball seasons due to the city's flood fight.

"It's not an easy decision telling kids their season is done," Vikings athletic director B.J. Pumroy said. "But it's the right decision."

The decision to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which also includes spring football and volleyball practices, comes on the heels of a request by officials Tuesday to evacuate those in the city's flood plain.

The Sheyenne River is expected to crest at 21.5 feet on Saturday.

The flood fight has affected Valley City State's softball field and practice football field.

The outfield of the softball complex was ripped up to help fix a levee breach near the field, Pumroy said. Pumroy said the practice football field has been destroyed by a levee.

The university will attempt to repair the facilities as soon as possible, Pumroy said.

The Vikings baseball team is 4-14 this season. Valley City State was scheduled to wrap up the regular season on April 29.

The softball team is 9-12. The final regular-season game was scheduled for April 26.

About 50 student-athletes combine to participate in softball and baseball at Valley City State.

Pumroy said he has alerted the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics of the decision. Athletes will likely be allowed an extra full season of eligibility, Pumroy said.

Pumroy said this is the first time a school has canceled this much of the season in the history of the Dakota Athletic Conference or its predecessor leagues.

Valley City State President Steven Shirley has canceled on-campus activities for the rest of the spring semester.

Students will be allowed to finish their classes online.

"There are a lot of disappointed athletes," Pumroy said. "But they get it. They have worked hard laying the sandbags and levees. They have been knee-boot deep in water fixing stuff. It's going to hurt right now. ... Most of them understand that this does make sense."