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UWSP reaction to WIAC fall sports cancellation

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -The WIAC is canceling fall sports within the conference for this academic year. that means no football, volleyball, women’s soccer, or men’s and women’s cross country for UW-Stevens Point.

UWSP football head coach Greg Breitbach has been on a football field as a player or coach for 40 years, but that won't happen this fall.

“Well there’s a strong disappointment, especially with the older players,” Breitbach said. “You know we do have some fifth-year guys who were on the verge of graduating and going out and getting a job.”

“And now they’re going to be left with some really tough decisions on whether their career ended with COVID-19, or whether they’re going to be able to come back and find a way to play.”

Recent protocols mandated by the NCAA for COVID-19 testing for high-risk sports became a mountain too tough to climb.

“We needed over 6,500 tests between August 1 and December 31,” said UWSP athletic director Brad Duckworth

While that may be financially feasible for some sports, Division-III athletics was not one of them.

“We’re not in the same ballpark with the NFL, with FBS teams,” Breitbach said. “To make that happen just wasn’t realistic in terms of the financial settings.”

College sports have already been cut at all levels because of the economic fallout from COVID.

“The economic impact of this is staggering,” said Duckworth

That possibility exists at UWSP too.

“I anticipate we’ll survive this, but we will likely look a little different,” Duckworth said. “It’s just how deep depends on how long this pandemic holds out, and what it does for our finances honestly.”

So how do you make some good come out of essentially a lost season?

“It’s going to be a test to how we can overcome adversity,” Breitbach said. “Because this is truly adversity, when you get your season taken away in the middle of your college career, that’s adversity.”

The WIAC did leave open the possibility for both girl's golf and tennis to be played in the spring, but that's only because that's when those national championships are held.

Duckworth said the logistics of playing those other canceled sports in the spring, just simply didn’t make sense.

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