Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and the Atlantic Collegiate Athletics Association (ACAA) have announced that all regular season and postseason competition will be cancelled until January 2021.
At Mount Allison this will impact badminton, basketball, cross-country, football, hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, and volleyball.
The decisions not to move ahead with a competitive season were made in consultation with member schools.
“The AUS examined several scenarios for the fall term of the 2020-21 season, but with all of the unique challenges we face — including the decision by many institutions to move to predominantly online course delivery — none could be squared appropriately with public health requirements,” says AUS executive director Phil Currie. “As difficult and disappointing as this decision is, it is the most prudent and responsible one under the circumstances. Adherence to public health directives is essential and we cannot reconcile those with the requirements of competitive sports at the AUS level.”
The ACAA faced similar challenges.
“We understand this is a very disappointing situation for our student-athletes and fans across the region,” says William Lahey, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of King’s College, who spoke on behalf of fellow presidents of the ACAA member institutions. “At the same time, I am confident that everyone understands the requirements for physical distancing and protection measures are not compatible with competitive sport at our level of play and the risk of transmission among athletes is too great. In a nutshell, the health and safety of student athletes, coaches and athletics staff comes first.”
Mount Allison will continue to offer programming for student-athletes and the University will honour athletic financial awards, provided student-athletes continue to take part in athletics programs. Coaches will be in place and teams will continue to train, while adhering to public health requirements and guidelines. Winter sport athletes will use the fall term to prepare for a possible return to competition in January 2021.
“This has been a difficult week for university sports fans, for our many alumni and supporters and most importantly for our coaches and student athletes,” says Mount Allison’s Director of Athletics and Recreation Pierre Arsenault. “Sport is a great teacher for how to deal with adversity and while it is certainly disappointing, we know that our Mounties have the fortitude to become stronger as a result of these challenges. We will turn our focus to what is still possible as we continue to run our programs this fall and really emphasize the continued development of our players.”
The AUS has said a decision on winter term competition will not be made until this fall, while the ACAA has said it will make a further decision on whether a condensed season for basketball, volleyball, and badminton might be possible beginning in January 2021. The national governing body for the AUS, U SPORTS, has announced that if there is no national championship in a given sport, student-athletes in that sport will not consume a year of eligibility.