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UMAC releases update for Fall sports season

ST. PAUL — Following extensive deliberations and meetings of various UMAC governance groups throughout the past three months assessing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Council of Presidents and Chancellors has voted to modify the timing of conference competition and championships for fall sports classified as high-risk by the NCAA Sports Science Institute (SSI) which includes football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

Per directive of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, the UMAC will pursue opportunities to provide conference competition in the spring for the fall sports of football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. This could include conference post-season tournaments and championships in the spring for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball in addition to other conference competition.

UMAC institutions remain focused on providing meaningful experiences for all student-athletes in the fall of 2020 which could include opportunities for practice, small-group training, skill development, strength and conditioning and leadership programming. Engagement in non-conference competition in the fall for football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball remains at the discretion of UMAC institutions and will not be governed by the UMAC.

Men’s and women’s golf – which are classified as low-risk sports – will be permitted to compete this fall, and conference championships will be conducted as planned. Men’s and women’s cross country are classified as medium-risk sports and may engage in regular season competition and conference championships as planned provided accommodations and modifications can be made by UMAC institutions and the conference to move all regular season and conference championship events to low-risk classification per the adjustments outlined by the NCAA SSI. Competition for golf and cross country will be limited to conference members only per previous decisions put in place by the Council of Presidents and Chancellors.

UMAC conference decisions related to fall sports competition have been guided by state and local public health officials, the NCAA SSI recommendations and campus institutional policies. At the time of the conference discussions and decisions, the NCAA Resocialization of Collegiate Sport recommendations regarding testing for high-risk sports presented significant challenges for some conference institutions to feasibly secure testing and ensure timely results to safely conduct conference fall competition. The health and safety of student-athletes, athletics personnel, and greater campus communities of members of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference is of utmost importance.

The UMAC continues to monitor changing circumstances related to COVID-19. Decisions regarding winter sports including season structures and starting dates will be made at a later date. Any further decisions for 2020-2021 made by conference governance groups will continue to be driven by available guidance from local and state health officials and the NCAA SSI and are subject to change.

Additional information related to the conference’s decisions and impact on student-athlete eligibility, other compliance components and further details regarding fall competition can be found on the UMAC Frequently Asked Questions page. UMAC COVID-19 related updates – including institutional announcements and decisions – will continue to be provided when available and can be found on the UMAC COVID-19 Resource Page.

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