The Great Lakes Valley Conference – of which Missouri S&T is a member of – announced Monday, July 27 that it will postpone the majority of the fall intercollegiate athletics season until the second semester as a result of the ongoing concerns involving the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The decision, voted on by the conference’s Council of Presidents, was made based on guidance from the athletics directors across the league and an extensive review of the recommended testing and safety measures developed by the NCAA Sport Science Institute.
The GLVC has postponed all of its regular season competition and championships for the 2020 fall semester for the sports of football, volleyball and soccer; competition in those sports and GLVC championship events will be conducted in the 2021 spring semester. The conference will allow competition in the S&T-sponsored sports of cross country, golf, swimming and track & field during the 2020 fall semester.
A decision regarding the start of basketball competition – which is scheduled to be contested on a conference-only basis in the 2020-21 season beginning Nov. 13 – will be made by Oct. 1.
In addition, the baseball and softball teams will be permitted to have only intrasquad competition on campus during the fall semester.
The distinction between the sports stems from the sport classification put forth by the NCAA Sport Science Institute, based on a consensus by the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine COVID-19 Working Group. Bowling, golf, swimming & diving, tennis, and track & field were classified as low contact risk sports, while baseball, cross country and softball were deemed medium contact risk.
The NCAA believes low and medium contact risk sports can successfully implement physical distancing and universal masking practices during all sport activities; however, the level of risk in cross country and track and field are dependent upon the student-athlete's proximity to other unmasked individuals. The sports in which those safety practices are deemed highly unlikely by the NCAA, including basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and wrestling, have been classified as high contact risk sports.
“Regrettably, we find ourselves having to make these difficult decisions in July similar to those made in mid-March, regarding the postponement of GLVC competition for football, soccer and volleyball for the fall semester,” said GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich. “We remain optimistic that we can provide our student-athletes impacted by today's news with meaningful opportunities to engage with their teammates and coaches throughout the fall semester to prepare for the planned return to competition in the spring.
“The GLVC and all 15 of our member institutions remain committed to prioritizing the health and welfare for all students, faculty and staff, as well as, for the citizens that reside in the community that supports each school,” Naumovich added.
Dr. Robert Manuel, President of the University of Indianapolis and chair of the GLVC Council of Presidents, echoed those sentiments:
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the GLVC Council of Presidents and league athletics directors for the leadership they have shown during the vetting and decision-making process during these challenging times,” said Manuel. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and those in our campus communities has been, and will continue to be, paramount throughout these unprecedented times.”
The GLVC becomes the 11th of the 23 NCAA Division II conferences to postpone fall competition. The NCAA has yet to determine the final status of its fall national championships.
The GLVC’s scheduling committee will soon begin to determine second-semester, regular-season schedule models for all affected sports with health and safety, as well as, institutional facility, personnel and cost-containment measures in mind. In addition, dates and locations for all GLVC Championships will be announced at a later date.