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COVID-19 financial pain cancels university fall sports: Trinity athletic director

Last Updated Jun 8, 2020 at 10:12 pm PDT

Summary

U SPORTS announced Monday the cancellation of its six 2020 fall national championships

With move to classes online, revenue to universities dried up: athletic director

Some sports could still go ahead early next year, but with a shortened schedule

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — University sports in western Canada will not be going ahead this fall due to COVID-19 and how the pandemic has affected school revenues, according to one athletic director.

U SPORTS, the national brand of university sports in Canada, announced Monday the cancellation of its six 2020 fall national championships and modifications to eligibility and scholarship regulations in response to the pandemic. Some sports could still go ahead early next year, but with a shortened schedule.

Part of the decision to cancel fall sports is related to finances, said Jeff Gamache, athletics director at Trinity Western University.

“As soon as they moved all the classes online, and didn’t have people on campus, even for the summer semester, none of that revenue is coming into those departments,” he added.

“All the sources of revenue were drying up at the same time,” he said. “As much as this is very much COVID related, the real driving force in this is just the significant financial pain that so many schools are feeling.”

Blake Nill, football coach at the University of B.C., is not surprised by the decision to cancel fall sports, but nonetheless said it is difficult to accept.

“You know, these kids train hard. They’re very passionate about their sport,” he said. “And it’s going to be difficult. But they are also built to overcome stuff like this.”

Football and soccer are among the fall seasons canceled in the Canada West, while there’s still a chance basketball, hockey, and volleyball could have a shortened season in the spring semester.

 

Women’s field hockey and rugby, cross-country running, men’s and women’s soccer, all scheduled for later this year, are the other championships called off.

“U SPORTS has been working hard with the four conferences, our 56 member institutions and medical experts to examine the feasibility of delivering the fall national championships this season,” Lisette Johnson-Stapley, U SPORTS chief sport officer, says in a release.

“Taking into account the academic realities of university sport, we arrived at a point where a tough decision had to be made.”

The decision comes as a result of the on-going uncertainties with student-athlete health and safety, travel and public health restrictions that affect parts of the country and different curriculum delivery models being proposed on university campuses, according to U SPORTS.

Athletes will not lose eligibility in the event the 2020-2021 U SPORTS championships are not offered, according to U SPORTS.