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MIAA institutions working hard to return athletics to campuses this fall

Presidents from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) member institutions announced today, May 8, that they intend to return sports to MIAA campuses this fall, and are committed to providing a safe and competitive experience for all MIAA student-athletes throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.

In making this announcement, the MIAA, with guidance from the conference commissioner and institution athletic directors, acknowledged that MIAA athletics in 2020-21 may look different than in years past, and that a “new normal” will evolve as everyone continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19.

“It is with great optimism that we are looking forward to the next academic year,” said Penny Allen-Cook, MIAA Commissioner. “This has been a very challenging time for winter and spring student-athletes as they saw their seasons cut short. And our fall sports student-athletes have had to deal with the anxiety of not knowing their status for the coming year. In making this announcement today, we hope to provide some reassurance to MIAA student-athletes and their families.”

The MIAA has always been committed to the health and wellbeing of its student-athletes, and that will continue to be at the forefront of all decisions regarding return to play. MIAA leadership is busy developing scenarios and plans for sports’ safe and healthy return. These scenarios range from having a normal return with a phased-in practice and competition schedule consistent with guidelines set by governing bodies, to delaying the start of practice and play which would result in shortened seasons.

With guidance and direction from member institution’s team doctors and athletic training staffs, protocols are being developed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in every way possible. All decisions will be data-driven and based on guidance from federal, state and local health officials.

Cook also said that MIAA member institutions understand that the final status of return to play is subject to state and local guidelines, along with the readiness of its members to return students to campus in the fall.

She added, “The MIAA will continue to develop and perfect plans as the response to the pandemic evolves, and that everyone associated with the conference is excited about the prospect of providing a safe and practical competitive environment for student-athletes this fall.”