WIAC suspends sports through calendar year
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced that all winter sports events scheduled through Dec. 31 have been suspended.
“Following a thorough evaluation of all COVID-19 risks and safety protocols, and numerous meetings involving various Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) governance groups, the WIAC Council of Chancellors have voted unanimously to suspend all winter sports competition through December 31, 2020.”
This affects the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point men’s and women’s basketball teams, men’s and women’s hockey teams, men’s and women’s swimming teams, and men’s and women’s wrestling teams.
“It’s what we’ve kind of been anticipating for the last good three to four weeks,” said Tyler Krueger, UWSP Men’s Hockey head coach. “Just based off of other conferences around the country, and kind of their decisions. This was the route that pretty much everyone was taking at our level, at the Division-III level.”
The decision might’ve been inevitable, but it’s still painful.
“It doesn’t diminish the disappointment,” said Bob Semling, Pointers Men’s Basketball head coach. “I mean, it hurts all of the coaches, and all of the student-athletes, the players.”
The X-factor for a return is the price and access of daily rapid COVID testing that will allow D-III schools to play ball like Division-I powerhouses can.
“With tests becoming less expensive, we’re looking at all of those options,” said Danielle Harris, WIAC Commissioner. “So, we’re continuously evaluating those to see if our institutions will actually have access.”
But until the NCAA cancels winter sports championships, there is optimism for a WIAC season.
“You know, you have to have hope,” says Harris. “You have to have hope for our student athletes.”
“You know we’re very excited about this team on paper,” Krueger said. “You know the one’s I feel bad for are our seniors, so I hope we can salvage something out of it for them to give them the best experience possible.”
No matter what, the competitive juices never stop flowing.
“There’s a WIAC championship to be won in February,” said Semling. “There’s a regular season championship to be won, and somebody’s going to win it, so it might as well be us.”
UWSP will allow their winter sports teams to begin practices on October 1, but both Krueger and Semling say that those more than likely won’t happen until closer to the end of the month.
The WIAC also announced that it will monitor developments and make a determination regarding competitions in the spring semester at a later day.
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