WIAC cancels majority of fall sports

Chancellor describes news as ‘heartbreaking’


Hannah Preissner / Advance-Titan — The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced that the majority of fall sports this year will be canceled, including football.

Joseph Schulz, Managing Editor

UW Oshkosh athletics fans will have to wait awhile before watching the Titans return to action, as the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced that the majority of fall sports this year will be canceled.

Conference seasons and championships in football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country are to be canceled for the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition, women’s tennis and women’s golf will be suspended for the 2020-21 fall term. The WIAC seasons and championships in those sports will be moved to the 2020-21 spring term.

In a written statement Monday, the WIAC said schools will have the autonomy to establish practice opportunities this year, as long as they follow guidelines established by the NCAA.

“Determinations with regards to the winter sports season, including the start date and the manner in which competition will be conducted, will be determined at a later date,” the conference said. “Any practice opportunities or competitions must be conducted in accordance with NCAA resocialization guidelines in effect at that time, in addition to any mandated restrictions imposed by local, county or campus entities.”

Hannah Preissner / Advance-Titan — Women’s soccer has also been canceled for the 2020-21 academic year.

In a campuswide email, UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt described the news as “heartbreaking.”

“We were saddened when we suspended our spring 2020 sports, and, at that time, were hopeful we would be able to resume our seasons in the fall,” Leavitt said.

Prior to the cancellation, he noted the Council of Chancellors had been consulting with athletics departments across the conference to discuss COVID-19’s impact on fall sports and that the decision to cancel was very difficult.

“While we recognize the disruption this causes in the lives of student-athletes, we believe they and all of our students will understand this is the right decision to protect health and safety,” Leavitt wrote.

Additionally, UWO is planning for the return of student-athletes and preparing other activities to keep them engaged on campus, he wrote.

“Teams and athletes will have the opportunity to train and practice under improved safety protocols developed in partnership with public health officials,” Leavitt said. “While we will miss cheering on our teams from the stands at the Titan Stadium and in Kolf Sports Center, we know this is the right thing to do to protect health and safety.”

Although winter sports begin later in fall, Leavitt noted the WIAC felt it was premature to address the schedule for those sports due to the rapidly changing conditions posed by the pandemic.

“This is the latest, albeit significant, disruption COVID-19 has posed to our UWO community,” Leavitt said. “We have already seen Titans pull together and face the challenges head on. I know we will continue to rise, support one another and overcome this and whatever adversity may await us.”