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NAIA postpones cross country, soccer, volleyball championships to spring 2021

Football decision expected Friday
NAIA
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 21:39:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) council of presidents (COP) voted Tuesday to postpone the fall championships in the sports of cross country, soccer and women's volleyball.

Each postseason event will now take place in the spring of 2021.

The COP's decision will allow leagues across the nation to still compete in the fall and winter, if they choose. The Frontier Conference will host a meeting later this week and said in a statement on Monday it will host a virtual call to "make decisions as to the conference moving forward, both academically and athletically."

An NAIA decision regarding football is expected on Friday.

“The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr in a release. “However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week.”

“Given the fast-paced and constantly-changing nature of the current environment, the COP recognized that the likelihood of safely completing the fall sports season has decreased significantly,” Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP Chair and University of St. Francis President, added in the release. “This decision allows conferences to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 when determining the appropriate time for regular season competition.”

According to the release, 51 NAIA institutions already elected to postpone their fall athletics, planning to compete in the spring of 2021.

“This decision exemplifies the COP placing a priority on institutional and conference autonomy while acting in the best interest of the association,” said Carr. “We are fortunate to have dedicated leadership across our shared governance groups who are passionate about supporting our student-athletes’ safety and overall experience.”

Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson told MTN Sports earlier this month, at least 50 percent of athletic programs must plan to compete in order for the NAIA to host its scheduled postseason. At the time, nearly 65 percent of football programs were still electing to play in the fall.

Tuesday's news came on the same day the Frontier held its annual football media day, an event gone virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league already lost its three out-of-state programs -- College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon -- as their parent conference, the Cascade Collegiate Conference, postponed its fall activities until at least Nov. 1.