WAYNE – The 16-team, 18-sport, NCAA Division II conference which is home to the Wayne State College Wildcats announced Monday late afternoon a delay in the start to the fall sports season to late September, early October.
According to a release from the Wayne State Athletics office, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Board of Directors unanimously supported a delay to the start of NSIC fall athletic competition. The decision was made with the health and safety of its member institutions’ communities, the importance of successful institutional campus reopening and the overall well-being of its student-athletes as its top priorities.
For the sports of football and men’s & women’s cross country, the first permissible practice will be Wednesday, September 2 with the first date of competition scheduled for Saturday, September 26. For volleyball and women’s soccer, the first permissible practice will be Tuesday, September 8 with the first date of competition scheduled for Friday, October 2.
With the delay of the fall sports season announced Monday by the NSIC, the WSC football schedule is reduced from 10-games to eight, losing a road contest at Bemidji State and a home game with a Minot State. The Wildcats will now open the 2020 season at Minnesota Duluth on September 26.
The Wildcat volleyball team will now see an original 20-game schedule reduced to 15, losing road games at Minnesota Duluth as well as St. Cloud State and home matches against Sioux Falls, Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State. WSC will open their season on the road at the University of Mary on October 2.
The WSC soccer teams’ original 15-game schedule has been cut to 11 games and will now start on October 2 with a home match against Minnesota Crookston. The Wildcats lost four matches against Minnesota State, Concordia-St. Paul, Northern State and MSU Moorhead.
The WSC cross country schedule will see at least two meets canceled – Sept. 5 at Dordt and Sept. 12 at Dakota State. An updated schedule for Wildcat cross country will be announced at a later date. An amended schedule for Wayne State College women’s golf will be released also at a later date.
The health and safety of student-athletes, athletics personnel and greater campus communities in the NSIC is paramount. Given the information from the medical and scientific community, and the number of uncertainties and limitations involving local and state regulations, it has become evident that a delay to the original start dates can provide the membership the opportunity to be prepared for all student-athletes to return to campus and work through all of the requirements for resocialization.
Making this decision now permits campuses to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader campus communities. The challenge of preparing for a fall sports season amidst the present uncertainties should not affect overall institutional reopening plans nor the health and safety of the wider campus community.
The NSIC will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements at a later date, as necessary.