University of the Fraser Valley athletes will not compete until at least January, after Canada West officially cancelled all fall sports on Monday morning.
For Cascades student-athletes this means that men’s and women’s soccer regular seasons will not be occurring, and men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball will be delayed.
There is the potential that basketball and volleyball will also be cancelled, with a final decision on the future of those sports expected to be made by Oct. 8. The UFV men’s and women’s golf teams seasons may also be cancelled, with a decision to be made by July 15.
It’s with heavy hearts that we relay this news.
Canada West has announced that no conference competition (regular season, playoffs & championships) will occur for team sports in the fall semester, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Read more: https://t.co/CjurnnyiLD
— UFV Cascades (@UFVCascades) June 8, 2020
Despite the uncertainty surrounding all the sports, UFV’s director of athletics and campus recreation Steve Tuckwood stated that the school will honour all athletic financial aid commitments made to student-athletes for the 2020-21 season.
“We understand that today’s news is devastating for our student-athletes, who have worked hard towards maximizing their potential in preparation for the fall,” Tuckwood stated. “We’re proud of the adaptability they have shown in pursuit of excellence in their academics and their athletic training throughout this COVID-19 physical distancing period, and we empathize with them at this difficult time.
“Canada West has made this decision with the best interests of student-athletes at heart, and we understand the need to give these student athletes certainty as they look ahead and plan for the fall.”
Canada West unanimously voted on the moves on Friday. Tuckwood said that whatever eligibility soccer players had heading into this year will move forward to next year. With golf, volleyball and basketball it depends on whether those sports proceed with national championships later this year.
📢 CW cancels 2020-21 1st term team competitions
– Decision made by CW's 17 members
– 2nd term competition determined by Oct. 8
– Student-athletes retain eligibility, remain eligible for scholarships
– U SPORTS 1st term champs cancelled
— Canada West (@CanadaWest) June 8, 2020
He added that soccer players have been engaging in virtual workouts for several months in anticipation of what was to be a planned shorter season, which was announced in May. Tuckwood said there has also been a proposal submitted to the university for training opportunities for all student-athletes in small groups on campus. He added the early-summer is often a slower time for school training.
Tuckwood said there is also the potential for soccer exhibition games.
“We’ve actually already spoken to other schools within the Canada West and the Lower Mainland and islands,” he said. “So there’s a mutual understanding that if we’re allowed to play then we would encourage some exhibition games, whether that’s UBC, UVic, the Okanagan or even some college teams. The intention is to have some exhibition games when they are allowed. We just know there won’t be a league and there won’t be a championship in soccer.”
Tuckwood added that spring soccer was also determined to be out of the question, as the other western provinces don’t have the ability to play because of uncertain weather conditions. Exhibition soccer games would also potentially occur in 2021.
Ultimately, the Cascades basketball and volleyball teams 2020-21 seasons will be determined on how the virus is dealt with in B.C. and the other Canada West provinces. Tuckwood said he is confident that the correct decision will be made.
“It would obviously be very disappointing if we had to cancel those seasons but we’re hopeful at this point,” he said. “The task force that was put together by Canada West to look at this included athletic directors, health professionals and some of the people that drafted the ViaSport return to play guidelines. So these are very credible and knowledgable people and they will continue to guide us. I think it’ll be a week-to-week check in to see where things are at within the health ministry in each of the provinces. I want to see our athletes play as much as anybody else.”