McGill sidelines lacrosse, eight other sports for 2021-22

TORONTO, ON – McGill Athletics announced on Wednesday that nine of the school’s sports teams would not compete in 2021-22, due to the challenges and “continuing complexity” of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Redbirds and Martlets will not compete in alpine skiing, artistic swimming, badminton, baseball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing or woodsmen. Neither gender will be able to compete this season and cannot continue preparing for the season. 

U SPORTS only sanctions one of the programs, women’s field hockey, which will not compete. The OUA released a 2021 schedule that included McGill; it will now need to be revised.

Alpine skiing student-athletes have often represented Team Canada at the FISU Winter Universiade. The 2021 FISU competition is scheduled for December in Lucerne, Switzerland, and without a university racing schedule, McGill’s athletes may not claim as many spots. 

McGill cites the “capacity to provide high-level operational program support, including crucial medical requirements and the level of administrative oversight needed to safely support these teams” as the reason for not offering the programs in 2021-22. 

The only McGill teams permitted to prepare and compete during the 2021-22 seasons are basketball, ice hockey, cross country, football, rugby, soccer, swimming, track and field, and volleyball. All are sanctioned by U SPORTS.

“We want to assure you that this decision is not about reducing the workload for staff in Athletics and Recreation, but rather ensuring that the work is of a high standard worthy of varsity programs,” the department said in a release. “It is imperative that those student-athletes who participate have a positive, rewarding and safe experience.”

The Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association expressed displeasure with McGill’s decision on social media, saying, “Clearly we are disappointed with this, we were consulted, we believe CUFLA has a sound position and a good plan. The coaches are still working, trying to find a way to get on the field for 2021.”

Student-athletes and others will be able to ask questions at a town hall hosted by the Athletics and Recreation department on July 22 at 12:00 pm ET, led by Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning), and Geoffrey Phillips, Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation.

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