Since the season is officially underway for those conferences participating in fall athletics, thoughts naturally turn to winter sports. The national office began discussions about the winter season this summer and has been obtaining feedback from various membership groups, including a survey sent to presidents and athletic directors in recent weeks.
We know it is important for members to have the most current information regarding the winter championships calendar. As with anything COVID-related, however, we cannot predict with certainty what the situation will be in the coming months. Based upon the information we have now, we intend to proceed with our winter championship dates and locations as scheduled. While some members have expressed interest in delaying winter championships, moving these events to spring will cause additional resource and logistical challenges for members, conferences, and the national office.
It should be noted that the national office is working with the winter host sites regarding contingency plans, but these efforts do not indicate an intent to move the championships. We are simply being proactive in our approach if the COVID landscape changes and we have no other choice.
In the survey results, 74% of presidents and athletic directors indicated that the NAIA should continue to allow conferences and institutions the autonomy to determine regular season play. Because many student-athletes are already on campus, start dates for winter will remain in the purview of institutions and conferences. Additionally, the NAIA is not restricting practice or competition during the holiday break in an effort to allow institutions to manage the season in a way that works best for them.
The National Administrative Council will be discussing criteria for postseason qualifications – including minimum contests required and ratings – in early October. We will provide updates on these decisions and others as they become available.
Navigating a pandemic requires flexibility and understanding. We also know that communication between the national office staff and membership is critical to determine the best possible outcome. We welcome your questions or comments at COVID19info@naia.org.
Again, thank you for continued input and support of our student-athletes.