COVID-19 cancels sporting events for first semester

(Courtesy of York Lions / Edited by Victoria Silman)

York Lions Executive Director, Jennifer Myers, has officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 fall sports calendar, meaning all scheduled games will not be played. 

The decision was made by the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) board of directors with input from various organizations and federal guidelines. 

The OUA hopes the restriction can be lifted by January 1. The decision is still being discussed as the pandemic develops, but the hope is to return and potentially play out the seasons using condensed schedules.

The decision was made after conversations with public health authorities and extensive contingency planning with the Board of Directors, institutions, and colleagues. Regarding student athletes, OUA has allowed universities to make decisions regarding scholarships and whether to honour Athletic Financial Awards (AFA). 

Teams and members have the freedom to choose to train on campus if they follow regulations and safety guidelines. 

The possibility remains for 1st Term sport to be executed during spring 2021 or in the form of a modified delivery sometime between February and May.

The university addressed the question many were wondering: if the NBA, MLB and NHL are restarting, why can’t varsity games be played? Unlike university sports, professional organizations are heavily funded, meaning they are able to take every precaution, including testing and accommodations that may be too costly for post-secondary schools.

The other issue is that we have already seen cases like in Major League baseball, when nine days into the season, eight teams had players or staff test positive for COVID-19. This led to multiple teams being quarantined and games like Blue Jays vs. Marlins being rescheduled. Even the strictest methods to prevent the spread does not guarantee 100 per cent safety.

The university hopes to keep as many services, like leadership and team study groups up and running, modifying them to meet the needs of students while also prioritizing safety precautions. 

York has confirmed the awards will be given to those who have already qualified for them. 

As for which winter sports will be returning to play in the second semester, York Lions has yet to make a final decision. However, for the cancelled fall semester sports, “the possibility remains for 1st Term sport to be executed during spring 2021 or in the form of a modified delivery sometime between February and May,” York said in a Q&A statement.

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By Sergiy Slipchenko

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