CHARLOTTE – After careful consideration, the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), in conjunction with its Athletic Directors Association (ADA), has voted to delay the start of all winter sports seasons which includes men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and women’s bowling. Men’s and women’s basketball will begin their seasons on January 9, 2021, while start dates for indoor track and field and women’s bowling are still under review.
Additionally, at the recommendation of the CIAA ADA and with approval from the Board of Directors, the conference has opted not to sponsor championship seasons for football as well as men’s and women’s cross country during the 2020-21 athletic year while women’s volleyball will proceed with a 2021 spring season.
“Delaying the start of our winter seasons acts in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff as it ensures proper resocialization for all parties while affording our membership the opportunity to implement recommended health and safety measures prior to competition,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “Although unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances this year will prohibit athletic seasons for some, we remain committed to bolstering opportunities that amplify the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, partners and fans.”
Both men’s and women’s basketball will feature a 16-game conference schedule while offering teams the autonomy to play up to six contests against non-conference opponents. All teams will adhere to uniform COVID-19 testing and reporting policy prior to each contest.
“Throughout this process our Board, the ADA, and conference staff have been consistent about the safety and well-being of our students and staff being the number one priority,” stated Virginia State University President & CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah. “Despite some tough decisions, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that all of our membership is in the best possible position for the foreseeable future.”
The conference will proceed with spring sports on schedule, as prescribed by NCAA Division II, but will continue to monitor any changes in legislation that could impact those plans.
“The leadership within our conference remains committed to ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Decisions of this magnitude, while never easy, are made with those factors as the primary focus,” said Clyde Doughty, Bowie State VP of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation and CIAA ADA President. “These are unprecedented times for all of us and we continue to work collectively to identify the solutions that act in the best interest of our membership.”
An update on CIAA Championships for spring and winter seasons will be provided at a later time with the plan for regular-season competition now approved.