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MCAC Votes For January Start Over Previously Scheduled Season

The Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference met on Friday, voting in a newly planned 2020-21 volleyball schedule that would begin play on January 15th rather than the previously scheduled volleyball season due to start play in November.

Many factors led to this inevitable decision, none more critical than the current stage of the approved return-to-competition plans in the sport.

"Volleyball Manitoba recently released an approved plan for a return to competition," said CMU Athletics Director and the MCAC's Vice President of Technical Operations, Russell Willms. "On top of our previous schedule not fitting into the new scheduling requirements, it does not appear that Manitoba, the Winnipeg-region in particular, will be at a point anytime soon where competitions can be re-introduced, but we have taken the newly approved competition plan and created a January-start schedule that factors in all the new requirements so that when and if all the regions of the province return to "code yellow", and community-transmission risks are deemed to be low, we can give our athletes and coaches an opportunity to play a competitive schedule."

Factors released by Volleyball Manitoba for a return to competition with lower risk of transmission include, number of persons making up a team cohort, number of teams in cohorts for competitions, length of time between matches and between teams changing opponents, and so on.

"We have recently seen these exact protocols begin to be implimented into various sport schedules in some other provinces and this was a schedule that in our small conference, was quite simple to put onto paper," added Willms.

Teams will play match days every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, allowing the required full-day period between matches. Teams will be able to change opponents after a minimum of four days off from their last scheduled game. A significant change will take place in the championships format. The new restrictions will require the championship to be played over two weekends. The MCAC has voted to allow the higher-seeded team to host the semifinals and finals rather than having one site serve as the full Championship weekend venue. The dates reserved for the 2021 MCAC Volleyball Championships will be March 6th and March 13th. The league directors will meet again in early December to make an ultimate decision on the fate of the January-start schedule they voted in today.

The conference also decided to cancel all scheduled November basketball games between CMU, Providence and USB. The dually-affiliated teams, (CMU and Providence), are still scheduled to participate in a January-start Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball schedule that can only go ahead if international border restrictions are lifted. The NIAC directors are scheduled to meet in mid-November to discuss the current state of the pandemic in each region and create a plan for further decisions related to the scheduled 2021 season.



Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association