NSIC delays start of fall sports season due to COVID-19

Monday, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) declared a delay towards the start of fall sports due to COVID-19.

"With the health and safety of its member institutions’ communities, the importance of successful institutional campus reopening and the overall well-being of its student-athletes as its top priorities, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Board of Directors unanimously supported a delay to the start of NSIC fall athletic competition," the conference said in a statement.

Many Minnesota universities are impacted in this announcement, such as: Bemidji State University; Concordia University, St. Paul; University of Minnesota, Crookston; University of Minnesota, Duluth; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Morehead State University; Southwest Minnesota State University; St. Cloud State University and Winona State University.

The conference says for football and men’s and women’s cross-country, the first permissible practice will be Sept. 2 with the first date of competition scheduled for Sept. 26. For volleyball and soccer, the NSIC says the first permissible practice is scheduled for Sept. 8 with the first date of competition scheduled for Oct. 2.

For updated schedules for football, volleyball and soccer, click here.

“This was a challenging decision for our membership to make,” stated NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind. “For the last several months, our membership has been working tirelessly to prepare for the fall sports season, including developing the resumption of athletic principles, revamping schedules and creating competition disruption plans. At this time, we remain optimistic that we can safely conduct a fall sports season and moving the start date of competition will give us the best opportunity to give our student-athletes the experience they deserve.”

The NSIC says making the decision now permits campuses to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader campus communities.

“Athletics is a vital aspect of all 16 of our campus communities and we owe it to our student-athletes to exhaust all options that will result in an opportunity for them to compete in their sport. We are optimistic that remedies to manage the virus and minimize spread will improve over time which would provide a more consistent season and positive experience for our student-athletes. Although we are not able to guarantee this given the uncertain nature of the virus, we are committed to exploring all options,” said Lind.

The conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally and nationally, and make any decision or announcements at a later date, if necessary.