BURNSVILLE, Minn. –- In light of the NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to direct all institutions and conferences to meet specific requirements to conduct fall sports and the NCAA Division II Presidents Council’s announcement that all NCAA Division II fall championships are canceled, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s Board of Directors has canceled NSIC fall competition and championships, and has suspended all athletic competition through December 31, 2020.
The NSIC recognizes the value an NCAA championship experience provides for student-athletes and that was a factor in the analysis. However, health and safety concerns prevailed in the league’s decision. Additionally, current recommendations for testing, exposure, and quarantine make it very difficult for a season to be successfully completed at an institution or across the conference without severe disruptions.
“The league’s initial decision to delay the start of fall sports was made with the rationale to allow campuses the ability to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader university communities,” said NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind. “In light of the recent decisions made by the NCAA Board of Governors, it is no longer feasible to conduct outside competition this fall semester. Our student-athletes deserve a competitive experience that provides a greater degree of safety and certainty than current conditions would allow. We believe now is the right time to provide clarity to our student-athletes so we can turn our efforts towards helping institutions reopen and ensuring a safe return to campus to start the academic year.”
Although the NSIC will not conduct a league schedule for 2020 fall sports, competition is an integral part of the student-athlete experience, therefore, the membership is committed to exploring meaningful opportunities and experiences for fall student-athletes in the spring, if it can be done reasonably and safely.
The conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally, and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements, as necessary.
While the affect of COVID-19 pushing beyond summer and erasing the Beavers' fall sports season is hard to take, BSU Director of Athletics Tracy Dill said that the health and safety of student-athletes, staff and fans was paramount during the decision-making process.
"We are deeply saddened that our student-athletes will not have the opportunity to compete this fall. Our top priority is the academic, athletic, mental well-being and safety of our student-athletes and staff."
BSU staff echoed his disappointment in the news, but look toward the future with optimism:
"We don't have to all agree or disagree. The simple fact is we need to move forward and handle the adversity we are faced with," commented Head Football Coach Brent Bolte. He added, "We are all very saddened and disappointed that we will not be playing this fall, but the safety of our student-athletes has to come first. The true character of our players, coaches and university have been challenged but we will come out stronger"
Head Volleyball Coach Kevin Ulmer said, "We all hoped this day would not come, but it is here and now we need to look beyond our current situation. Despite hard work, the reward is not always visible. Our team has learned this through experience and become very good at it. We look forward to the days ahead when we can see the reward of our perseverance."
"Often we don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone," said BSU Head Soccer Coach Jim Stone. "Right now we are learning the value and gift that sport is in our culture. It has the ability to empower and unite us. We look forward to the day when we can open that gift together and be united in competition soon."
"In difficult times we need to look to the future to bring with it brighter days and hopes of competition and camaraderie. We are blessed to train and learn in the beautiful nnorthwoods of Minnesota and our mission remains the same; to continue to improve and grow stronger in all of our pursuits." He added, "The wellness and safety of our student-athletes is paramount. We will remain focused on the task at hand and to hold each other accountable."
With the sports now suspended for the fall semester, Dill added that league officials will continue to work to enhance opportunities for student-athletes to train and develop skills safely.
"We thank our student-athletes, fans, alumni, parents, campus community and supporters for understanding as we navigate through these tough times," said Dill.
About the NSIC:
The NSIC is a 16-team, 18-sport, NCAA Division II conference with institutions located in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The NSIC is a model Division II conference that uses high-level athletics competition to develop champions in the classroom and community while empowering student-athletes to be impactful and positive leaders. Formed in 1992 by the merger of the Northern Intercollegiate Conference (men’s league) and the Northern Sun Conference (women’s league), the NSIC has flourished over the past quarter century, maturing into a 16-team union of Upper Midwest colleges and universities. The NSIC has won 23 team national championships and crowned 77 individual national champions.
(Portions of this release courtesy of the NSIC)