KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCAU) – On Tuesday, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents (COP) voted to postpone the national championships in cross country, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball to the spring of 2021.
If they choose to do so, teams in the NAIA conferences will still be allowed to compete in the fall and winter.
COP members decided to wait for feedback from colleagues before deciding the timing of the football national championship. This will be determined at a meeting on Friday.
“Given the fast-paced and constantly-changing nature of the current environment, the COP recognized that the likelihood of safely completing the fall sports season has decreased significantly,” said Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP Chair and University of St. Francis President. “This decision allows conferences to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 when determining the appropriate time for regular-season competition.”
Before the vote to postpone, 51 NAIA individual institutions had opted to postpone fall competition until the spring of 2021.
“The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week.”
The NAIA canceled the spring 2020 sports season in March because of restrictions on gatherings by the CDC. Because of this, no spring 2020 athlete was charged a season of competition.
“This decision exemplifies the COP placing a priority on institutional and conference autonomy while acting in the best interest of the association,” said Carr. “We are fortunate to have dedicated leadership across our shared governance groups who are passionate about supporting our student-athletes’ safety and overall experience.”