Ontario University Athletics, under the direction of its board of directors, announces the cancellation of all OUA-sanctioned sport programming and championships up to December 31, 2020.
A decision of this magnitude was not made lightly, but the process of reaching this conclusion was based on provincial public health guidelines and with the health and well-being of all OUA participants at the forefront.
“Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision,” Dr. Mike DeGagné, chair of the OUA board of directors said.
“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 31.”
It was after ongoing conversations with health authorities, as well as extensive contingency planning with the board of directors, member institutions, and colleagues across the country, that it became increasingly evident that a safe return to play for the first term was not realistic.
“I want to thank the board of directors and everyone who has been part of these important conversations. 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,” Gord Grace, OUA President & CEO said.
“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.”
At this time, given the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, no decisions have been made beyond the first term timeframe. Any decisions regarding the feasibility of delivering OUA-sanctioned programming and championships beyond January 1, 2021 will come at a later date, but Grace adds that the organization’s goal will be a second term return.
“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 said.
“We are committed to delivering OUA sport once our provincial public health authorities indicate it is safe to do so,” DeGagné added.
Along with the OUA’s announcement on Monday, similar action has been taken by Atlantic University Sport and Canada West. The AUS has announced the suspension of all conference regular season and postseason competition until January 2021, while Canada West announced that no first term competition will occur in team sports. At the national level, U Sports has confirmed the cancellation of all national championships for the first term, while also outlining updates pertaining to Athletic Financial Awards and Eligibility for the 2020-21 season.
“Through these exceptional circumstances,” Grace said, “I know that the entirety of the OUA will continue to show that we are one.”