While MLS and Minnesota United are kicking it into high gear to resume the 2020 season, the colleges who would normally be doing the same will not this year. After decisions by the Big Ten, NSIC, MCAC MIAC, and UMAC over the past weeks there will be no college soccer this fall.
The Minnesota Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) was the first one to make the decision all the way back at the beginning of July. In their announcement on July 6th the conference stated that football, soccer, and volleyball had been cancelled while activities for sports played in the Winter and Spring would be prohibited during the fall semester. The conference would reaffirm the decision on July 21st. The MCAC also said “Discussions about the potential for spring seasons for these sports are continuing and guidance will be provided in the near future.”
The decisions for this continued to fall back in late July when the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) became the first conference with Minnesota ties to announce cancellations. As of that press release “The conference is working to develop spring schedules for those sports, which have been deemed at medium- or high-risk for coronavirus transmission by the NCAA.” That list includes cross country, football, soccer, and volleyball. When speaking for the press release Augsburg University President and Chair of the MIAC Presidents’ Council Paul Pribbenow said:
“Our number one priority is the health and safety of students and staff. The decision to postpone competition for many of our fall sports was very difficult, as we know how much our student-athletes want to compete and how important athletics are to each of our campuses, but we need to put ourselves in a position to return to play as safely as possible.”
Shortly after the MIAC’s announcement the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) also announced the cancellation of sports for the fall. This would include football, soccer, and volleyball but unlike the MIAC not Cross Country. The UMAC was the first multi-state conference with ties to the state announcing postponements. The conference has members going as far north as Duluth, MN (College of St. Scholastica) and as far south as Missouri (Westminster College) and Illinois (Greenville University). Like the MIAC the conference also said “the UMAC will pursue opportunities to provide conference competition in the spring for the fall sports of football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. This could include conference post-season tournaments and championships in the spring for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball in addition to other conference competition.”
Then early this week the Big Ten (B1G) also announced the cancellation of fall sports. Unlike the MCAC, MIAC, and UMAC announcements where it was just high risk sports the B1G made a blanket statement cancelling all sports. Now while most people were focusing on the fact that the conference was the first “Power 5 Conference” to cancel football the the subsequent possibility of Nebraska rebelling, ours has been soccer. This means that the only (current) Division I program in the state, the University of Minnesota Women’s Soccer team, will not be playing this fall. You can read the U of M’s full statement here.
The final shoe to drop regarding college sports in Minnesota was the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NISC) and their statement on Thursday. Following the B1G’s lead the NSIC also cancelled all fall sports in the conference. This came just weeks after the NSIC initially delayed the start of practices for soccer and volleyball to September 8th and the first day for interscholastic matches to October 2nd.
Other area conferences including the American Rivers Conference (FKA IIAC) ICCAC, Midwest Conference, WIAC, which include colleges and universities in surrounding states, have all announced the cancellation of some or all sports for the fall. On the contrary the Great Plains Athletic Conference and North Star Athletic Association, who are members of the NAIA not NCAA or NJCAA, are planning on going ahead with all sports.
Currently the Minnesota State High School League has moved football and volleyball to the spring, while soccer and other fall sports remain in the fall as scheduled. Postseason activities for those sports are still currently up in the air.