The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced on July 27 that the upcoming 2020 fall athletic season would be conference-only. However, each sport’s feasibility will be evaluated individually.
The vote was conducted by the GLIAC Council of Presidents.
According to GLIAC's statement, playing a conference-only schedule provides schools additional time for student-athletes to return to campus and go through the proper COVID-19 protocols.
The change will also provide schools with the proper time to conduct practices and preseason training. At Wayne State, practices will begin no sooner than Aug. 31 in order to follow proper guidelines.
"We recognize that student-athletes are anxious to return to campus and their teams," GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said in the statement. "Throughout the summer, school administrators have put guidelines in place to ensure that student-athletes are properly tested, monitored daily, and training safely.
GLIAC said their task force has developed safeguards for competition and updated schedules for fall and winter sports. Their goal is conference wide COVID-19 testing, safe training, travel, hosting and in-game protocols.
WSU’s current protocols require student-athletes to be "initially tested for COVID-19, take and pass the campus test modules and satisfy the daily screener," Athletic Director Rob Fournier said in a July 27 statement.
"We continue to focus on how our athletic programs might be able to move forward this fall with competition and how best to accomplish that objective with keeping student-athletes, coaches and staff in the optimum environment for protection from COVID-19,” Fournier said.
Dunbar said she appreciates all of the work and consideration being taken to put safety first.
“I admire the work they (school administrators) have done to put the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, and support personnel above all. At the same time, we're working toward returning to competition safely,” Dunbar said.
The GLIAC Council of Presidents plans to meet early August to evaluate whether each school is able to adhere to the task force’s protocols.
WSU plans to make an announcement after the conference meeting.
WSU Athletics will also host a virtual meeting involving interested student-athletes, coaches and staff. A date for the meeting is to be determined.
All collegiate sports at WSU were suspended March 12. GLIAC suspended play the following day.
Irving Mejia-Hilario is sports editor for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Quinn Banks, multimedia editor for The South End. He can be reached at email@example.com.