GLIAC suspends all sports competition through the end of 2020; NMU, MTU and LSSU affected
BAY CITY — Northern Michigan University, Michigan Technological University, Lake Superior State University and the other nine institutions of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference voted on Tuesday to suspend all sports competition until Jan. 1, 2021.
The GLIAC Council of Presidents voted unanimously to take this action with the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and community members as its top priority.
“The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult,” said GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar. “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.”
“We will continue to rely on medical and public health experts to guide our decision-making process,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “While we all want college athletics to return, prioritizing the health and well-being of everyone involved is the right thing to do.”
Though intercollegiate competition is suspended, modified fall practices and workouts are being planned pursuant to NCAA and GLIAC rules and guidelines as well as state, local and university safety protocols.
“We will now turn our attention toward formalizing competition schedules that will start on or after Jan. 1, 2021,” said NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr. “We hope to provide a positive student-athlete experience despite the challenging circumstances. If possible, we intend to conduct fall sport competitions during the winter and spring. As we get closer to January, we will follow guidance from medical professionals to determine whether the environment is safe allowing a path forward for competition.”
Student-athletes will be given the option to opt out of playing this year and will be allowed to keep any financial aid they receive.
The GLIAC Council of Presidents decision does not impact NMU, MTU and LSSU’s non-GLIAC NCAA programs, including hockey. The three schools are all members of the Western Colligate Hockey Association (WCHA).