Delayed start to fall sports season gives NSIC time to assess protocols


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — College athletic conferences across the country are having to decide whether to have fall sports due to the pandemic. Yesterday, the Northern Sun announced it is delaying the start of its seasons to late September.

The NSIC’s decision to delay the fall sports season has bought the conference some extra time.

“The one asset that we have is time. And it may feel like we don’t because we’re almost to August, but really, we learn so much every 7 days, every 15 days, every 21 days. Not only about the pandemic, but how we react to it,” Augustana Athletic Director Josh Morton said.

Pushing fall sports to the spring was discussed, but the NSIC felt moving the start date to late September was a better option.

“The delayed fall start allows our student-athletes to be students first, and get adapted to the classroom, and dorm life, and everything else, and then get involved with their sports teams,” USF Athletic Director Pam Gohl said.

Though playing in the spring could still happen.

“If we get to a point, where we say, it’s not with our health and safety in mind, and we can’t compete, then okay, then we have that option of potentially moving to the spring,” Morton said.

The conference is currently developing health and safety guidelines that each of the 16 member schools will follow.

“Because we play in a conference with five states involved we can’t just think about what our health providers require here in Sioux Falls. We have to be thinking about what they require in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa as well.

The athlete’s safety will continue to be the top priority with any future decisions.

“The biggest thing over the next thirty plus days is figuring out what safety and health looks like. Because yes, we want to compete as bad as anybody, and I know our athletes want to compete. But we’re not going to compromise their health and safety to do it,” Morton said.

The NSIC Football and cross country seasons will begin on September 26th, while volleyball and soccer will start on October 2nd.

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