The Alberta Colleges Athletic Association has cancelled the fall semester athletic season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

ACAC cancels fall semester sports season

RDC supports decision

There will be no sports this fall at Red Deer College.

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Association announced their plans Friday for the 2020-21 season and with that, cancelled the fall semester of sports which includes golf, soccer and cross country running. They are aiming to run those sports in April of 2021.

All two-semester sports, like hockey, basketball and volleyball won’t start until January of 2021.

“As a member of the ACAC, Red Deer College supports the decision and recognizes that it was made very carefully with the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, officials, athletics staff and fans in mind,” said RDC President Dr. Peter Nunoda.

For athletes in soccer, golf and cross country, they will not lose a year of eligibility because the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association already cancelled those national championships.

ACAC CEO Mark Kosak applauded the work of the 17 member organizations and the approach they took. With U Sports and Canada West cancelling some fall sports already, he said the notion existed that they needed to follow suit right away.

“I’m quite proud of the approach our organization took. There was lots of pressure as you can imagine, whenever Canada West or U Sports or the CCAA makes a decision, there’s pressure to quickly follow suit and make a decision. Our members resisted that pressure,” Kosak said.

“They said we are going to do what’s best for our conference and our student-athletes. We spent a considerable about of time gathering as much information as we could, listening to the experts and consulting with our stakeholders and we came to a decision.”

Kosak said he feels for those athletes that are going to miss out on a fall season, but believes by potentially playing them in the spring, it provides a ray of hope.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to cancel the fall, but it just seemed like there was no other option, given the uncertainty of the health situation and that the CCAA had announced that national championships for not going to happen for those three fall sports… really had no choice about the fall, it was inevitable,” he said.

“It’s innovative I think. Essentially what we’re going to do is mitigate the disappointment from those fall student-athletes, by proposing to hold those sports in the spring. Obviously, we’ve got some time to see how we can plan for those sports, but we think it’s feasible.”

Kosak also noted there is still a lot to be worked out about what the ACAC will look like when they resume play, including eligibility and whether or not they will be able to have fans at game. He said ultimately, this latest announcement buys them time.

“There’s still lots of work for us to do to get ready for the season,” Kosak added.

“It’s been challenging to budget for next year because we just don’t know what the expectations are going to be or where your revenue is going to come from but those things will all fall into play over the next few months.”

Any further decisions on schedules, formats and related eligibility will be made at an ACAC meeting on June 25.

RDC will hold a zoom media conference on Monday with President Dr. Peter Nunoda at 1 p.m. to address how they will move forward.

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