The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) has announced the postponement of all fall sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021.
Newman University Director of Athletics Joanna Pryor said teams are allowed to practice but no competitions may take place until after the first of the year.
“Our teams can scrimmage with each other, but we are not allowed any outside competition — that includes scrimmages with other college teams,” Pryor said.
Instead, coaches and athletic staff will treat the fall semester as a planning period, preparing for spring competition, working on schedules and facility arrangements.
The extra time does provide an advantage for other things such as Title IX training and NCAA-required drug and alcohol prevention training. Pryor and her team are looking into ways this year’s required training can be done virtually.
As for team gatherings and meetings, Pryor said during the first week of school, team meetings will be allowed for strategy sessions and compliance training. The two weeks following, small groups of 10 or less will be able to work together within their sport. A reevaluation will take place after that time to see what the next steps can include.
Splitting teams into smaller groups will create a slightly larger workload, but Pryor said everyone understands the necessity.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meetings will also look a little different this year, especially in the fall. Virtual meetings will replace in-person sessions and even though competitions have been postponed, SAAC members will still have many important issues to discuss.
SAAC is responsible for creating a student-athlete voice within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) structure. The committee works to get the student-athlete population involved in responding to and recommending potential NCAA legislation. They also focus on promoting a positive student-athlete image within the community.
Overall, coaches and students alike are glad to have answers and guidance from the MIAA. The news regarding their fall competitions was disappointing but everyone is on the same page of understanding.
“Students want to be back on campus and with their teammates,” Pryor said. “They also want to have their regular season. But they understand why things are delayed and are happy to be back.”