BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Thursday officially canceled its fall competition and championships, which includes football, volleyball, cross country, soccer and golf at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all fall and winter athletic competition in the 16-team NCAA Division II conference has been put on hold through Dec. 31. However, that excludes their Division I men’s and women’s hockey teams.
“The league’s initial decision to delay the start of fall sports was made with the rationale to allow campuses the ability to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader university communities,” NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind said. “In light of the recent decisions made by the NCAA Board of Governors (to cancel the Division II and III 2020 fall championships), it is no longer feasible to conduct outside competition this fall semester. Our student-athletes deserve a competitive experience that provides a greater degree of safety and certainty than current conditions would allow. We believe now is the right time to provide clarity to our student-athletes so we can turn our efforts towards helping institutions reopen and ensuring a safe return to campus to start the academic year.’’
According to UMDbulldogs.com, the UMD Athletic Department is planning to conduct as much meaningful team athletic activity, including training and practices, as is appropriate under the current circumstances.
“As with other COVID-19 related cancellations, Bulldog Athletics is deeply disappointed for our student athletes who will not have the opportunity to compete this fall, but understands and respects the NSIC’s decision in the interest of campus, community and public health,” said UMD Athletic Director Josh Berlo.
“At this time we are focused on supporting our student athletes, helping them navigate the current challenges and making the most of the athletic activities (training, skill development, team meetings and practices) during the coming fall semester.”
“As a member of the working group that developed this measure I fully support the steps taken given the challenges of COVID-19 while also heartbroken for our student athletes. Regardless, we will make the best of the fall semester for our great Bulldog student athletes,” said Karen Stromme, Sr. Associate Athletic Director & Sr. Woman Administrator Karen Stromme.
The NSIC consists of UMD, Bemidji State, University of Mary, Minnesota State Moorhead, Minnesota Crookston, Minot State, Northern State, Augustana, Concordia University St. Paul, Minnesota State University Mankato, University of Sioux Falls, Southwest Minnesota State University, Upper Iowa University, Wayne State College, Winona State and St. Cloud State.