CHARLOTTE – Due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced Monday that it has voted to cancel the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which was set to begin January 9, to include the 2021 CIAA Basketball Tournament.
The conference’s move to cancel both men’s and women’s basketball seasons comes after it previously announced a shortened 16-game schedule last month.
In addition, the board also voted to cancel the women’s volleyball season, which had been moved to the spring from the fall.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to challenge the conference’s ability to see a clear path to move forward collectively. The impact to health and wellness, community concerns, as well as the economic ramifications are real,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “I want to commend our Board of Directors for exemplifying courageous leadership in college sports to ensure the well-being of the CIAA as well as the health and safety of our student-athletes and communities.”
“This was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly by the CIAA Board,” said Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Dr. Makola Abdullah. “We all want to have a season, and we want our student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a season. However, the data, which changes almost daily, does not support such a decision. The potential risk outweighs the desire to play.”
In lieu of games being canceled and no in-person events, the CIAA still plans to engage alumni, students, and fans during what is traditionally tournament week, in the last week of February, through a virtual experience. The platform will feature a host of ancillary events – including several that have become cornerstones of tournament week such as CIAA Fan Fest and the CIAA Step Show. More details, including a full schedule of events, interactive fan promotions, and other activations, will be released at a later time.
A decision on spring seasons and championships will be provided later as the conference and its membership continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape while following current federal, state, local, NCAA, and campus guidelines.