OSHKOSH, Wis. (NBC 26) — There will be spring sports at UW-Oshkosh this year.
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) announced Wednesday it will sponsor a full spring season. That means baseball, softball, track & field and more are a go at UWO this spring.
"I think the NCAA really wanted to have a spring sports season," Kevin Tomasiewicz, UW-Oshkosh's head baseball coach, said. "That was the goal, to give us an opportunity to get back. Having two full years off of not actually playing games would have been terrible."
Oshkosh's 2020 season was canceled after only six games last March as the coronavirus pandemic first hit the United States.
The WIAC is giving its spring teams much more freedom allowed to the winter sports teams. Unlike winter sports, teams will play a full conference schedule and will be allowed to schedule non-conference games.
Each sport will also have a conference tournament and - at least for baseball - Tomasiewicz said there is optimism for a national NCAA Tournament. That is significant because the NCAA recently canceled its Division III winter tournaments.
"If the NCAA can pull off spring sports tournaments, it's a win in my book," Tomasiewicz said. "To play for something is what (the players) want to do."
"We play to win a conference championship, yes, but ultimately we play to get in the dance," he added. "I'm optimistic right now... that we'll have some sort of championship after the conference tournament."
Tomasiewicz did say the NCAA has decided to eliminate a number of at-large bids to the tournament. That means the tournament would comprise mainly of conference tournament champions and "a few at large bids," which would decrease Oshkosh's odds of making it.
The Titans' season begins on March 20 against Finlandia University. Tomasiewivz said UWO will likely play at Capital Credit Union Park in Ashwaubenon, home of the Northwoods League's Green Bay Booyah, because their field on campus likely won't be ready.
UWO typically doesn't host any home games until April, but with non-conference games harder to come by this season - it will have to host earlier.