GPAC Release (July 21, 2020)
SEWARD, Neb. – In a release that went out on Tuesday (July 21), the Great Plains Athletic Conference announced its intention to move forward with fall intercollegiate athletics. Concordia University, Nebraska, in conjunction with the conference, has plans to proceed with the schedules currently laid out. Student-athletes and staff may begin official team practices on Saturday, Aug. 15.
From the GPAC release:
“The GPAC Council of Presidents (COP) announced the league’s intention to move forward with fall sports for 2020. The GPAC also encourages the NAIA to permit conferences, where possible, to move forward with fall sports at this time.
The health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and communities in the GPAC is our top priority. The GPAC is taking all necessary actions to help our campuses and communities address this public health crisis. We remain committed to providing a positive and safe experience for our GPAC student-athletes.
The GPAC will continue to closely monitor and adjust as necessary to protect the health and safety of all involved in GPAC athletics.”
Recently, in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Concordia Director of Athletics Devin Smith discussed the challenges of bringing athletics back to campus. Said Smith, “We're just doing the best we can to schedule everything and get everything in place, create a safe and healthy environment for our kids and our staff, and I really believe we're doing a great job staying ahead of the curve. Sometimes you get thrown a change-up ... and you have to regroup and start again.” Read the full story HERE.
At a national level, the NAIA shared its preliminary Fall 2020 Guidelines and Recommendations with membership on July 1, 2020. The guidelines include information regarding health and safety protocols, screening, testing, and parameters for returning to play. These recommendations have been developed based on the information that is available at this time, while prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes. The NAIA will continue to assess these protocols as best practices evolve and will share any necessary adjustments by early August.
In other major announcements around the NAIA:
· The Heart of America Athletic Conference announced on July 19 plans to move forward with fall sports.
· The Cascade Collegiate Conference announced on July 17 a decision to delay the start of all conference fall sports with the hopes of conducting seasons in the winter/spring of 2021.
· The Red River Athletic Conference announced on July 16 a decision to move traditional conference fall sports to the spring session of 2021.
· Select individual schools have suspended fall athletics. Hoopdirt.com has compiled a handy listing of collegiate athletic department announcements that have been made this summer. Find that list HERE.