U SPORTS unable to offer national championships in winter 2021
TORONTO – U SPORTS announced Thursday that it cannot offer the 2021 winter national championships due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The determination to not offer the championships comes with the unanimous support of its Board of Directors and the four university sports conferences: Atlantic University Sport, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, Ontario University Athletics and Canada West.
"Following consultations with the four conferences, we agreed that student-athlete safety remains our top priority," said Dick White, U SPORTS Interim Chief Executive Officer. "It is not logistically possible for teams to be travelling across the country at this time. Therefore, U SPORTS is in the unfortunate position where we are unable to offer the 2021 winter championships."
The impacted events include the women's and men's championships in basketball, hockey, swimming, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. Curling Canada previously announced the suspension of the 2021 university championships.
U SPORTS is committed to providing student-athletes with exceptional experiences to achieve their full academic and athletic potential. As such, health and safety are at the centre of Thursday's announcement.
"It is important to consider the impact on the under-30 university demographic," said Dr. Taryn Taylor, U SPORTS Chief Medical Officer and representative on the Own the Podium Return to Sports Task Force. "As the number of cases rise during the second wave of COVID-19, and without an available vaccine, on-going sports restrictions are required to ensure student-athlete health and safety."
Another critical consideration impacting today's announcement is the variety of local and provincial health restrictions facing championship hosts.
"U SPORTS is unique in that we offer nine winter championships in nine different parts of the country," said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, U SPORTS Chief Sport Officer. "Our hosts are facing a variety of challenges due to COVID-19, including travel restrictions and limits on public indoor gatherings that impact event planning. We look forward to providing the hosts of the cancelled 2021 national championships the opportunity to host in future years."
U SPORTS will announce its updated future hosting rotation before the end of the year.
AUS to explore possible regional competition options for winter 2021 semester
Return-to Play Committee set to provide recommendations to AUS board of directors in early November
(HALIFAX, N.S.) AUS has announced the formation of a new committee dedicated to exploring possible return-to-play options for the 2020-21 winter semester.
The AUS Return-To-Play Committee is comprised of one athletic director representing each of the four Atlantic provinces, as well as the director of sport programming from the AUS conference office. The committee will focus its efforts on the areas of health and safety, financial accountability, and travel concerns, and will provide its recommendations to the AUS board of directors by early November.
A board decision is then expected by mid-November.
"We're pleased by the directive we've been given by our board of directors to allow a committee of dedicated individuals to explore possible options for AUS competition in the winter semester," said John Richard, AUS president and director of athletics for UNB. "As athletic directors, we are passionate about sport and we believe in its value not only to our student-athletes, but to our campuses and surrounding communities. We welcome the opportunity to seek out safe and viable ways to resume competition this season."
The committee's recommendations will take into consideration each province's current public health directives and, wherever possible, will include contingency plans which account for evolving government regulations.
"The remarkable success of the Atlantic Canadian bubble places our conference in a unique position nationally to consider options surrounding return-to-play," said AUS executive director Phil Currie. "And while we approach this committee with great optimism, we also know that we must exercise caution and vigilance with respect to public health guidelines."
"Our board of directors will have an important decision to make come November, and we will be supportive of that decision, understanding the many complex factors which will play into it."
Several updates were provided nationally today regarding the status of interuniversity sport across Canada during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has announced the cancellation of conference regular and postseason competition in the winter semester. Members may still be permitted to pursue exhibition play should applicable public health guidelines allow.
The RSEQ has suspended all university sport related activity until at least January 15, 2021.
Canada West has cancelled all conference regular season, playoff, and championship events scheduled for the winter semester involving team sports, while deferring a decision on individual sports to a later date. Members may still be permitted to pursue regional non-conference play should applicable public health guidelines allow.
U SPORTS has announced the cancellation of all national championships scheduled for the 2020-21 season's winter semester, citing concerns around student-athlete safety, hosting challenges, national travel, and more.
This step was taken following consultation with all four university sport conferences, and AUS respects and supports the decision of the U SPORTS board of directors.