WIAC cancels fall sports season due to coronavirus pandemic

UW Oshkosh football is the biggest sport impacted by the decision.
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Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:44:03-04

MADISON, Wis. (NBC 26) -- The WIAC, an NCAA Division III conference which includes UW Oshkosh and seven other UW system schools, is canceling its fall season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Conference seasons and championships in the sports of football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country are to be canceled for the 2020-21 academic year," the conference said in a statement. "Institutions will retain the autonomy to establish practice opportunities within the limitations stipulated by the NCAA throughout the 2020-21 academic year."

UW Oshkosh said its women's tennis and women's golf seasons will move to the spring. It said all other sports are canceled for this year.

"Today's announcement from the WIAC and Council of Chancellors has been a very difficult one in our athletic department," UWO Director of Athletics Darryl Sims said in a statement. "In an effort to explore possible opportunities, we, as a conference, agreed that this is the best path forward given the guidelines set forth by the NCAA and the resocialization process.

"We certainly understand this decision is an unpleasant one, but we hope our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and support staff all appreciate and understand that their health, safety and well-being were the driving force behind this decision," Sims said.

UW Oshkosh's statement said a decision on the status of winter sports, including men's and women's basketball, will be made at a later date.

This decision comes hours after the Midwest Conference, which includes St. Norbert, Lawrence and Ripon, announced it is suspending all sports until at least January 1, 2021.

Both conference have said they will still allow their colleges and universities to hold practices, but will not sponsor any intercollegiate events.