TORONTO - The Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) and its members announced today the difficult decision to cancel sanctioned varsity sports competition planned for the 2021 winter semester at the OCAA's 27 member schools. The decision was made in response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and the sport restrictions that are in place in the Province of Ontario.
Sports affected by the cancelation of the 2021 OCAA varsity sports winter schedule include badminton, basketball, curling, indoor soccer and volleyball.
"The health of the entire OCAA membership and our participants remains our top priority, and we empathize, understand, and share the deep disappointment this especially causes for our winter sport student-athletes," said OCAA President, Nathan McFadden. "After extensive contingency planning and collaborating with our members, the reality is that there are far too many obstacles to allow the OCAA to operate while providing a safe and quality varsity experience for our student-athletes."
The OCAA made this difficult but necessary decision based on a number of factors, which are not limited to the following. The restrictive measures in place by the provincial sport regulatory bodies as well as orders from Public Health do not allow for regular sanctioned competition to take place for a provincial sports conference. Additionally, this decision is due to the members continued provision of a hybrid academic delivery model for the 2021 winter semester, thereby minimizing the number of students and staff on campuses in order to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
After careful analysis and collaboration with key stakeholders, the OCAA is making this decision now to allow our student-athletes time to make their own informed academic decisions in advance of the January 2021 semester.
Although there will not be sanctioned varsity competition this winter, sport and fitness continue to be an integral part of the collegiate experience. Some OCAA member schools may still allow for unofficial sports opportunities in their facilities within the parameters set forth by governing sports organizations and local health officials. These decisions will be made at the institutional level.
"The OCAA will return stronger from this due to our current strategic initiatives that are already underway," said McFadden. "The future viability of our sports are going to be more important than ever before to enhancing the post-secondary educational experience and we look forward to uniting our student-athletes, campuses and communities together in sport."
Article from OCAA: https://ocaa.com/sports/general/2020-21/releases/10152020covid19
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