The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced on Wednesday that all sports are suspended until the end of the calendar year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision comes as athletes and officials around the country debate appropriate plans for fall sports.

With this decision, the GLIAC joins the Ivy League, Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American Conference and many others in canceling fall athletic events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously on Tuesday to suspend all competition until Jan. 1, 2021, according to the GLIAC press release. 

Fall sports will potentially be played in the spring, according to the GLIAC’s announcement. Sports played at Wayne State during this season include football, golf, cross country, volleyball and tennis. The GLIAC will announce the winter sports schedule in the future, of which swimming and diving, fencing, basketball and women’s indoor track and field are played at WSU. 

"Our council of presidents and GLIAC athletic directors weighed this decision from every angle, hoping to find a feasible option for student-athletes to compete this fall, but in the end, the potential risks to student-athletes, coaches, support staff and fans made fall competition impossible," said Richard Pappas of Davenport University, 2020-21 chair of the GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors. 

GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said GLIAC made the decision based on COVID-19 safety guidelines.

"The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult," Dunbar said. "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."

Student-athletes will still have the opportunity to practice and participate in training programs in accordance with NCAA, institutional, local and state guidelines, according to the press release.

"Plans to provide fall teams with competition opportunities during the spring semester are a priority for the league,” Pappas said. “We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus so they can resume training, and our members remain devoted to providing a quality student-athlete experience despite these challenging circumstances.” 

On Aug. 5, the Division II Presidents Council cancelled all fall championships. According to WSU’s press release, this decision guided the suspension of competition. 

"I know this decision is disappointing to not just our student-athletes but our coaches, staff and community who look forward each year to the excitement and spontaneity of Warrior athletics," WSU Director of Athletics Rob Fournier said in the statement. “For many the 'routine' of college athletics is a source of pride, inspiration and motivation. We will continue to build on those aspirational goals and prepare for the hopeful opportunity of the promise of each spring."

The GLIAC will continue to work toward a safe return to competition, Dunbar said. 

"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," she said.


Irving Mejia-Hilario is sports editor for The South End. He can be reached at ismejia48@wayne.edu.

Cover photo taken by Jonathan Deschaine at the Sept. 28 WSU football game against Saginaw Valley State University. He can be reached at jonathan.deschaine@gmail.com.