OUA cancels fall sports for Lakers
The Education Centre, shared by Nipissing University and Canadore College. (Stu Campaigne, MyNorthBayNow.com staff)
Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has announced that all OUA sanctioned events, including sports programming and championships, are cancelled up to December 31, 2020.
Nipissing University officials say their sport programming will follow suit with the OUA and be cancelled. Dr. Mike DeGagne, the Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University, is also the Chair of the OUA Board of Directors and says health is the priority.
“Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision,” explained DeGagne. “The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to December 31st. We are committed to delivering OUA sport once our provincial public health authorities indicate it is safe to do so.”
“I want to thank the Board of Directors and everyone who has been part of these important conversations,” said Gord Grace, OUA President and CEO. “While this has been a challenging course of action for all involved, the health and safety of our student-athletes and all participants remain paramount. Even though we will not have the opportunity to celebrate our student-athletes on the field during the first term, they remain at the heart of what our organization is about and we will continue to work toward achieving a safe return to play when the time is right to do so.”
“We remain hopeful that we can provide quality experiences for our student-athletes starting in the New Year and will be closely monitoring the ongoing health considerations and viability for these future opportunities over the coming months,” Grace added. “Through these exceptional circumstances, I know that the entirety of the OUA will continue to show that we are one.”
Nipissing officials say under the direction of the provincial government and health authorities, the university is working on a return to campus operations plan which will advise on access to all aspects of campus life including athletic schedules and training programs. Student-athletes are still encouraged to plan to return to campus this fall to engage in aspects of a safe Lakers athletics sports program. Nipissing University remains committed to allowing sport to continue in 2020-21 as long as it is safe to do so.