U Sports, OUA announce cancellation of fall sports

Eligibility rules refined

Sports will not return to campus this fall.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The news many student athletes had been dreading was finally delivered on Monday afternoon. 

U Sports, along with Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Canada West (CW), and Atlantic University Sports (AUS) confirmed that all fall sporting competitions will be cancelled in 2020. 

The announcement follows the decision made by many Canadian universities to cancel in-person learning due to COVID-19 for the fall semester. Currently, the Résau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), Quebec’s university sport conference, has yet to reach a decision. 

The decisions apply until January 2021, with a verdict on whether winter sports will be played to be made later in the fall term.

The OUA explained in a press release that the decision to cancel its fall seasons was not reached lightly.

“Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision,” said Dr. Mike DeGagné, chair of the OUA Board of Directors. “The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to December 31st.”

The sports affected include football, rugby, soccer, cross country, and others. It’s unclear whether affected sports seasons will be postponed to the winter if circumstances permit, or if they will be cancelled altogether. 

Prior to the announcement, there was growing concern among student athletes that if the fall seasons were cancelled, they would lose a year of eligibility without having the chance to compete. Along with their press-release, U Sports announced affected players will not lose any eligibility. 

The cancellation of sports seasons also raises the question of whether student-athletes will still be granted scholarships. According to the U Sports website, Athletic Financial Awards (AFAs) can still be awarded to players despite U Sports championships being cancelled. 

U Sports also said more specific information will be released in the coming weeks. 

In a letter to varsity athletes, Queen’s Athletics expressed its sympathy for the news, adding it will continue to provide mental and physical support to varsity athletes regardless of whether they return to school or stay home in the fall.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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