MIAC still planning for winter season as a second league member cancels due to COVID-19
MOORHEAD — The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference had another member decide not to participate in the upcoming winter sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Olaf announced Thursday, Nov. 12, that it canceled varsity athletic competitions for winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s hockey, among other sports.
"We are extremely disappointed for our student-athletes, in particular our seniors, who will not have the opportunity to compete this winter due to COVID-19," said St. Olaf athletic director Ryan Bowles in a news release. "They have worked tirelessly this fall in preparation for competition and we are grateful for that."
St. Olaf is the second MIAC member that has decided to not compete in the winter. Carleton also canceled its winter sports a few weeks ago.
Currently, the MIAC, which has 13 members, is planning to have a winter sports season with its remaining league members.
"We anticipate we will lose institutions, like we just did with St. Olaf," said MIAC commissioner Dan McKane. "We are still planning for a winter season and adjusting schedules accordingly."
The MIAC had already announced it would postpone winter sports competition until at least Jan. 1. The league has yet to release schedules.
"We’re continuing to evaluate and plan to see what would be best for us as far as winter sports," said Cobbers athletic director Rachel Bergeson. "That is currently how we are proceeding. We have not had a direction otherwise."
Bergeson added trying to navigate COVID-19 with a priority on health and safety has been difficult for all involved.
"Any time an institution has to make a decision like that, I feel for them," Bergeson said of St. Olaf’s announcement. "My heart hurts for them because we’ve all had to make tough calls throughout the pandemic and it just hasn’t gotten any easier."