Vancouver, BC- There will be no fall sports in the U SPORTS Canada West, OUA or AUS conference in 2020. The three governing bodies issued a statement at 10amPT that all first semester sports seasons had been cancelled.
Cancelled sports include football, soccer, field hockey and rugby. As for the others such as hockey, volleyball and basketball, the plan is to start these seasons in January, when students are expected to be back on campus. While these sports are confirmed, Canada West is still looking at the possibility of golf, cross-country and swimming in potential championship formats.
The decision was rumoured over the last 48 hours but was confirmed this morning. The reasons behind the decision are many, but focused on health. Schools and their athletics departments did not see the possibility of holding contact team sports practices with provincial health authorities continuing to suggest physical distancing. Another contributing factor was the risk posed to student-athletes and communities for out of the city members travelling across the country, exposing them to possible COVID-19 infection or transmitting the disease outside of their respective provinces.
Canada West had initially announced a shortened schedule for all sports which was based around financial considerations and limitations. The plan had limited travel and games, but has been scrapped in favour of cancellation. AUS had announced a full schedule for fall sports, whereas OUA had only issued a schedule for football. All prior plans and schedules have now been cancelled.
While the intraconference play is one thing, the three conference statements also serve as a cancellation for the U SPORTS National Championships, including the 56th Vanier Cup. No host cities had been announced for the Vanier Cup or Women’s Rugby Championships, but Ottawa and Cape Breton are losing the national soccer tournaments.
Canada West led the way on cancellations and was shortly followed by the OUA and AUS. The OUA was inevitable to cancel, but the decision is a last-minute one from the AUS, which was expected to take a “wait and see” approach and decide later. Needless to say, other conference’s decisions pushed their fellows to cancel quicker.