LA GRANDE — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced late Tuesday, July 28, the championships for all its fall sports with the exception of football will be moved to the spring of 2021. A decision on football will come Friday, according to the press release from the NAIA office.
“This decision still allows NAIA conferences to compete in the fall and winter, if they so choose,” the NAIA press release stated, adding the delay on the decision for football was because of “unique challenges surrounding football” and Council of Presidents “members decided they needed more time to obtain feedback from their colleagues.”
“Given the fast-paced and constantly changing nature of the current environment, the COP recognized that the likelihood of safely completing the fall sports season has decreased significantly,” Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP chair and University of St. Francis president, said in the press release. “This decision allows conferences to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 when determining the appropriate time for regular season competition.”
According to the release, 51 NAIA schools already made a decision to move their fall sports — women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross-country — to the spring.
The Cascade Collegiate Conference delayed the start of its fall season and put a hold on any competition prior to Nov. 1. CCC Commissioner Rob Cashell said on Tuesday he commended the NAIA’s move.
“Obviously were pleased with that decision because it mirrors the decision we made a couple weeks ago to move our season to spring,” he said. “Very pleased with that. It gives our student-athletes the best opportunity to compete not only for a conference champ but for a national championship as well.”
Cashell said when the NAIA announces what the parameters for the new “fall” schedule will be and when the championships will be, the CCC will set its schedule accordingly.
“Once the NAIA lets us know when they plan on having the championships that would have been in fall, then we’ll be able to build our schedules around that championship date,” he said. “We need to know what those dates are going to be before we can zero in on what our conference schedules looks like.”