MIAC postpones all athletic competition until January, pushing back winter sports season start
The Cobbers plan to start practices for its winter sports teams Oct. 1 to prepare for their seasons. Concordia started classes last week and students are back on campus with a mixture of in-person and online learning.
MOORHEAD — The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postponed all athletics competition until January, the NCAA Division III league announced Monday, Aug. 31.
That move pushes back the start of the MIAC's winter sports seasons.
There are more than 25 athletes from Detroit Lakes and the surrounding communities competing in the MIAC.
The decision comes after the Division III Administrative Committee recently recommended that member schools not compete in the fall term due to potential health and safety risks from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"The biggest hurdle that we just couldn't find a way to overcome was the recent NCAA Division III Administrative Committee's recommendation," Concordia athletic director Rachel Bergeson said. "We would have had to have some really clear and direct rationale as to why we went against the NCAA, which is our highest governing body, and that was hard to come up with."
The league's statement read: "The delay in competition will grant institutions, staff, and students additional time to adjust to new safety protocols on campus in the COVID-19 era while also allowing for continued testing and treatment developments, which remain a key factor for the return of athletics across the nation."
"If there is a positive in all of this, it would be that the bulk of our competitions for winter sports do happen in the second semester," Bergeson said. "A lot of what we do compete in the first semester (for winter sports) is non-conference competition."
The MIAC previously postponed all fall sports — that were categorized as medium and high risk for the spread of COVID-19 — to the spring. This decision pushes golf and tennis, that both could have had fall competitions, completely to the spring. The MIAC Golf Championships that were set for October will be rescheduled for the spring.
The league's winter sports — basketball, hockey, indoor track and field and swimming and diving — won't start competing until January.
"At least we have the semester still where we do have most of our competitions," Bergeson said of winter sports.
Bergeson said the next step is looking at schedules for both fall and winter sports that have both been altered due to not competing during the first semester. Concordia's sports teams can have athletic-related activities during the first semester that follow NCAA and campus guidelines.
Bergeson said the Cobbers plan to start practices for its winter sports teams Oct. 1 to prepare for their seasons. Concordia started classes last week and students are back on campus with a mixture of in-person and online learning.
"The biggest challenge is our coaches trying to lead programs without the answers that they need," Bergeson said. "I want to try to provide them as many answers as we can and there's still so many questions lingering and things that are changing and schedules that aren't set."
The MIAC announced in Monday's release that schedules for all postponed seasons are slated to be released in the coming months.
"Although all of this is sad and disappointing, we are tackling the next steps to create schedules that are meaningful to our programs," Bergeson said.