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GLIAC suspends all sports through end of 2020

The GLIAC Council of Presidents voted unanimously to take this action with the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and community members as its top priority.
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference logo
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference logo(GLIAC)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 10:52 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University and the other 11 institutions of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference voted on Tuesday, August 11, to suspend all sports competition until January 1, 2021.

The GLIAC Council of Presidents voted unanimously to take this action with the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and community members as its top priority.

"The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult," said GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar. "After thoroughly reviewing federal, state, and NCAA SSI (Sport Science Institute) and Board of Governor's guidelines, it became apparent that conducting contests and championships this fall was insurmountable. My frustration and sadness for the coaches, student-athletes, families and fans is unmitigated. The league will continue to work on protocols for a safe return for our athletic programs, with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff taking the highest priority."

The postponement affects the 2020 fall seasons for the NMU football, volleyball, women's cross country and men's and women's soccer programs, as well as the non-championship segments for NMU women's lacrosse and men's and women's golf. The decision also means delaying the start of the seasons for NMU women's indoor track and field, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's swimming and diving.

Conference members will continue to consult with the GLIAC COVID-19 Task Force and will monitor developments surrounding the pandemic with state and local health officials, the WHO, the CDC, and other government entities. NMU testing procedures remain in place as additional student-athletes return to campus to progress toward their academic degrees through in-person and online courses.

"We will continue to rely on medical and public health experts to guide our decision-making process," said NMU President Fritz Erickson. "While we all want college athletics to return, prioritizing the health and well-being of everyone involved is the right thing to do."

Though intercollegiate competition is suspended, modified fall practices and workouts are being planned pursuant to NCAA and GLIAC rules and guidelines as well as state, local and university safety protocols.   

"We will now turn our attention toward formalizing competition schedules that will start on or after January 1, 2021," said NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr. "We hope to provide a positive student-athlete experience despite the challenging circumstances. If possible, we intend to conduct fall sport competitions during the winter and spring. As we get closer to January, we will follow guidance from medical professionals to determine whether the environment is safe allowing a path forward for competition."

Student-athletes will be given the option to opt out of playing this year and will be allowed to keep any financial aid they receive.

The GLIAC Council of Presidents decision does not impact NMU’s non-GLIAC NCAA programs, including hockey and men’s and women’s Nordic skiing, or NMU’s other varsity programs, including eSports, men’s and women’s alpine skiing, Greco-Roman wrestling and men’s and women’s weightlifting. Competition decisions for these programs will be finalized soon.

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