SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Briar Cliff University’s Men’s Volleyball program received surprising news on Tuesday when it was announced that their program had been canceled.
“Sad…heartbroken…a little bit betrayed…Just can’t believe that it happened like this. I don’t understand how we couldn’t finish out the year, at least,” said Riley Owen, former Men’s Volleyball player.
“Shocked…utter shocked. I had no idea that this was coming. It’s been an incredibly successful program here at The Cliff. It’s a great group of young men,” said Trevor Schirman, former Men’s Volleyball Coach.
The timing of the Men’s Volleyball ending comes right before school is set to begin.
“I was hoping that they would’ve let us know…a month or two ago, at least to figure something out. I mean, we start school on the [August] 24,” said Owen.
“Hundreds of phone calls, hundreds of text messages from parents, future athletes who have committed here. Everybody is in panic mode right now trying to figure out their next step,” said Schirman.
GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra said the conference will take a look at their Men’s Volleyball schedule for this season.
“Decide if want to keep what we had and just remove Briar Cliff from it. But moving forward, we’ll have to talk about our postseason tournament, what does that look like. Ultimately, what schools are looking at Men’s Volleyball…little bit of recruiting to do, maybe,” said Westra.
The Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) will now only have five teams involved in the sport. They are Morningside College, Dordt University, University of Jamestown, Ottawa University, and Central Christian College.
In the NAIA, a conference needs six college teams in a sport in order to be sponsored by the national association, which has been a long-standing rule for a while.
“But with COVID, we’ve talked about that we are going to have teams that will not offer the sport and those numbers could drop. So, there’s a mechanism in play for one year here to protect us if we drop below six. So, we intend to use that mechanism in Men’s Volleyball because, at this stage in the game, we’re not going to find a 6th team for this upcoming year,” said Westra.
In addition, Briar Cliff announced that the Cheer and Dance programs have also discontinued, effective immediately on Tuesday.
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