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University and college sports cancelled for the fall

(Photo courtesy Ontario Tech Athletics)

All sports for the fall of 2020 have been cancelled by the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association.

This affects all sport programs at Ontario Tech University and Durham College up to Dec. 31, 2020.

This conclusion was based on provincial public health guidelines and with the health and well-being of all OUA and OCAA participants at the forefront.

“The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to Dec. 31,” says Dr. Mike DeGagné, chair of the OUA board of directors. “We are committed to delivering OUA sport once our provincial public health authorities indicate it is safe to do so.”

Teams at Ontario Tech that traditionally compete in OUA-sanctioned events solely in the fall semester include golf, women’s field lacrosse, rowing and soccer. At this time, the two-semester sports will not start as per their usual October timeline.

“In collaboration with our members, extensive contingency planning, and aligned with current fall academic delivery models, this is a difficult, but necessary decision in order to protect the health and well-being of all of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff,” says OCAA President, Nathan McFadden. “The safety of the entire OCAA membership and our participants is our top priority, but we understand and share the deep disappointment this especially causes for our 4,000 student-athletes.”

Sports affected by the suspension of the OCAA 2020 varsity sports fall schedule are baseball, softball, rugby, rugby sevens, outdoor soccer, golf, and cross country running.

The OUA and OCAA will be closely monitoring the ongoing health considerations and viability for these future opportunities over the coming months.

At this time, given the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, no decisions have been made beyond the first-term timeframe.

“This announcement is heartbreaking for those around the province and country, as we would all like to get back to competition, but the safety of our student-athletes comes first and we support the tough decision made by the OUA board of directors,” says Ontario Tech athletic director Scott Barker.