With the health and safety of its member institutions’ communities, the importance of successful institutional campus reopening and the overall well-being of its student-athletes as its top priorities, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Board of Directors unanimously supported a delay to the start of NSIC fall athletic competition.
Northern State University will begin on-campus fall classes on August 19. For a full list of the health and safety precautions being taken by NSU faculty, staff, and students please visit northern.edu/coronavirus and nsuwolves.com/covid/re-engagement.
For the sports of football and men’s & women’s cross country, the first permissible practice will be Wednesday, September 2 with the first date of competition scheduled for Saturday, September 26. For volleyball and soccer, the first permissible practice will be Tuesday, September 8 with the first date of competition scheduled for Friday, October 2. As of today, the delay will not impact the start or competition dates for winter and spring programs within the NSIC.
Updated schedules for football, volleyball and soccer can be found at: www.NorthernSun.org/2020FallSchedules or on each sports respective schedule page linked above.
“This was a challenging decision for our membership to make,” stated NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind. “For the last several months, our membership has been working tirelessly to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing the resumption of athletic principles, revamping schedules and creating competition disruption plans. At this time, we remain optimistic that we can safely conduct a fall sports season and moving the start date of competition will give us the best opportunity to give our student-athletes the experience they deserve.”
The health and safety of student-athletes, athletics personnel, and greater campus communities in the NSIC is paramount. Given the information from the medical and scientific community, and the number of uncertainties and limitations involving local and state regulations, it has become evident that a delay to the original start dates can provide the membership the opportunity to be prepared for all student-athletes to return to campus and work through all of the requirements for resocialization.
Making this decision now permits campuses to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader campus communities. The challenge of preparing for a fall sports season amidst the present uncertainties should not affect overall institutional reopening plans nor the health and safety of the wider campus community.
“Athletics is a vital aspect of all 16 of our campus communities and we owe it to our student-athletes to exhaust all options that will result in an opportunity for them to compete in their sport. We are optimistic that remedies to manage the virus and minimize spread will improve over time which would provide a more consistent season and positive experience for our student-athletes. Although we are not able to guarantee this given the uncertain nature of the virus, we are committed to exploring all options,” said Lind.
The conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally, and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements at a later date, as necessary.