By David Johnson / BNC Digital Reporter
Both the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) annouced Thursday the suspension of fall sports for the 2020 fall semester.
The common theme for both HBCU conferences suspending their fall sports, was due to concern of surging COVID-19 cases, and new hotspots effecting both conferences and membered institutions
Just this past week, The United States had eclipsed more than 3 million positive COVID-19 cases according to Johns Hopkins Medical, and a hand full of new hotspots growing all over the U.S. amid pandemic.
The SIAC President Chairman George T. French Jr stated the following :
“The decision to extend the SIAC suspension into the Fall of 2020 was guided by the prevailing data, science, as well as current coronavirus infection trajectories. In light of these very difficult realities, and in the context of all of the overarching priority of all of my colleague SIAC presidents to protect the health, wellness, and safety of all of our students and staff, we are confident that the decision announced today is consistent with those fundamental health and safety priorities”, said President/Chairman George T. French.
SIAC members are weighing the option of moving some fall sports including football to the spring semester of 2021 as an alternative.
For the CIAA, the decision was made from reality that several CIAA member schools are located in states experiencing dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases. The recent rise in cases has led to a pause in phased reopening plans in many of these states, resulting in uncertainty as to whether students will return to campus this fall at several CIAA member institutions.
CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams stated the following:
“This was a difficult decision but remains consistent with our long-standing priority of always acting in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff. While there will be no athletic competition in the fall, we will continue to support opportunities that enhance the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, and partners.” said Commissioner Jaquie McWilliams
At the recommendation of the CIAA ADA, with approval from the Board of Directors, the conference will explore the possibility of a modified schedule of competition for football and volleyball as well as men’s and women’s cross country during the spring of 2021.
Additionally, CIAA membership has unanimously agreed to honor athletic scholarships for their fall sports student-athletes.
As HBCU’s, whom depend on the revenue that fall sports bring in prepare for harder times ahead, could we see spring football in the CIAA and SIAC to make up for a lost fall campaign ?