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MCAC Announces the Inevitable Cancellation of the 2020-21 Seasons

In a year that has already provided a large number of disappointments in the world of sports, the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Board of Directors announced the inevitable on Friday, that the reduced and delayed 2020-21 regular seasons in volleyball, basketball and futsal will all be cancelled.

"Over the five weeks since our last scheduled meeting, it has become quite apparent that competitive sport in a schedule format, could not safely happen this year," said CMU Director of Athletics, Russell Willms, who also serves as VP Technical for the provincial conference. "Of course it is horribly disappointing for all our athletes and coaches, but we have all come to expect that this would ultimately be where our planning for 2020-21 would end."

The MCAC is not alone. All conferences across the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) as well as USports have succumb to the restrictions placed on them to limit the spread of covid-19 for the safety of athletes, coaches and the community at large.

"For athletes about to graduate, I am sure that this is not how they saw their unversity sport journey ending. We definitely all grieve this loss with them," said Willms. "For all our athletes, it has been a difficult year but I also feel especially sorry for our rookie athletes, many of whom were unable to proper celebrate their high school graduation last summer, and on top of that lost part of their basketball season or a club volleyball season or a large portion of their soccer season and now have not had any university season either. All of us in the MCAC feel this loss together as we know how important sport is in our student athletes lives."

The MCAC will continue to meet regularly, beginning this Wednesday, as planning officially begins for 2021-22. The provincial conference was accepted into the CCAA in June 2018 as members on probationary status. This meant that for the seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21, Manitoba would not receive a berth at the National Championships but would be assessed with the intentions of becoming full-members, complete with all rights and privileges beginning in 2021-22.

"This is a pivotal time for each of us in the MCAC and for the conference as a whole," said Willms. "We have done a lot of work to get ourselves to this point but we still have a lot of work to do, both at CMU and in further developing the MCAC. We know that we will all face additional financial challenges as a by-product of this pandemic, that will be something that is felt across university sports in Canada, at the CCAA and USports level. So as directors, we need to think creatively and to work together so that when we do return to normal, we can create the best possible experience for athletes in the MCAC."

CMU varsity teams will have the week of January 18th circled on their calendar as the first week that there is a possibility of returning to in-person training. Since early November, coaches and athletes have been forced to connect through online platforms and have been doing their best to stay in touch by participating in online at-home workouts, strategy team talks, at-home team-building activities and trying to provide a general support system for each other as they navitage the new challenges of lockdowns, online classes and lost sport seasons.

"Even without a season, we know that being back together in the gym training and being around each other, is very important to everyone." added Willms. "We have a lot to look foward to and we are beginning to see some light at the end of this long pandemic-tunnel. Everyone is eager to meet together in-person again and begin working towards the next chapter."




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