Message from Chancellor Watson on Fall Athletics
On Monday, I, along with the other chancellors in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), held a meeting to vote on conference competition for the Fall of 2020. The decision was made that there will be no conference competition and championships for the 2020-2021 academic year for football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country. Universities will retain the autonomy to establish practice opportunities within the limitations stipulated by the NCAA throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
A decision on the future winter sports will be made at a later date.
Please find WIAC Commissioner Danielle Harris’ statement here.
The WIAC Chancellors all agreed that keeping our student athletes and our coaches and staff safe is what matters most. The health and safety of our community members is the first of our guiding principles at UW-Whitewater, and this decision falls in line with those principles.
The WIAC member chancellors did not believe it was prudent to continue competition if we could not test student athletes regularly. The close contact of these sports makes it extremely difficult to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The WIAC member universities simply do not have the capacity to test student athletes, coaches and staff with enough regularity to keep them safe during practice and competition.
I know this is disappointing news for many on our campus and beyond. The Warhawk fan base is national, and it simply won’t feel like fall without our teams in action. I join the legions who are saddened by this news. Yet, it is the right decision.
Our student athletes will have questions, and Athletic Director Ryan Callahan and the coaches will be available to answer them.
Athletic Director Callahan and our talented team of coaches will work hard to engage our student athletes in safe activities that allow them to continue to build relationships with team members and continue to develop as athletes. Athletics is planning a student athlete town hall on Aug. 6. Additional information will be communicated as it is made available.
This decision may have you questioning our return-to-campus plans. Please understand that athletic competition is much different than a classroom situation, where face coverings can be used and social distancing can be maintained. We continue our efforts to mitigate potential exposure on campus for our students, faculty and staff. This decision does not impact those efforts, and we will to return to classes as planned on Sept. 2, 2020.
Warhawk Athletics is powered by tradition and has a storied history of excellence that will not change because of this decision. There is a sense of loss that accompanies this decision, but nothing can change the pride that we have for Warhawk Athletics.
Dr. Dwight C. Watson
Additional Press Release from UW-W:
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has released its “Return to Play” plan for the 2020-21 academic year.
The WIAC has canceled conference seasons and championships in football, women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country. Institutions will be permitted to conduct practices/training sessions within the limitations stipulated by the NCAA throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
League discussions will continue regarding plans to conduct a predetermined, limited number of contests against outside competition in football, women’s soccer and volleyball during the 2021 spring semester.
The WIAC has suspended competition for women’s tennis and golf. Conference seasons and championships in those sports will be moved to the spring semester. Institutions will be permitted to conduct practices within the limitations stipulated by the NCAA during the fall semester.
“I am proud of the conference and our fellow member institutions for putting together a plan to return to play as soon and as safely as possible,” Interim Athletic Director Ryan Callahan said. “While I’m disappointed that our teams won’t be able to compete this fall, I’m confident in the abilities of our head coaches and support staff to create an atmosphere of learning and growth with our teams through other opportunities during the fall semester.
“As has been the case throughout this process, the health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff will be at the forefront of discussions moving forward.”
A decision on the winter sports season will be determined at a later date.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will post a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page no later than Tuesday, August 4.
A virtual Town Hall Meeting with department administrators will take place Thursday, August 6, at a time to be determined. It will be announced on uwwsports.com and the Warhawks’ social media channels.
To submit a question to the UW-Whitewater athletic department, click here.