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AUS suspends entire fall season

Amidst COVID-19 concerns, Atlantic University Sport (AUS) released a statement on Monday, June 8 declaring all fall season competition suspended until the new year.

The move was decided at the last meeting of the AUS board of directors. The board consists of the presidents of the association’s 11 member schools, which includes Dalhousie University.

“Our thoughts are with our student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff for whom this decision will have the biggest impact,” Phil Currie, executive director of the AUS, said in the statement released at 2 p.m.  

“We want them to know first and foremost that this decision was not taken lightly and that the number one factor driving our decision-making has been their safety and well-being. We also recognize the impact this decision will have on our valued fans, corporate partners and other stakeholders.

“As difficult and disappointing as this decision is, it is the most prudent and responsible one under the circumstances.”

For Tim Maloney, executive director of Dal’s athletics and recreation, the announcement is right for health and safety, but sad for both student-athletes and the sports community.

“Sport is a great way to engage many people in our community, and [the lack of sport in the fall] will create another void for us,” Maloney said in a CBC interview on Monday.

Every Dal varsity sport holds competition in some form in the fall. Out of Dal’s AUS teams, the entire soccer and cross country teams’ seasons are within the first semester. Whether the two sports will hold competition later in the year is unclear. Dal’s non-AUS sports like football, field hockey and rugby aren’t impacted by the announcement and will be subject to the decisions of their respective leagues.

U SPORTS, in their own announcement released on June 8, said six of their fall national championships have been cancelled, including those in soccer and cross-country. U SPORTS also revealed on their website that the cancellation of a national championship in a sport will mean that student-athletes in that sport will not have consumed a year of eligibility. Universities can still provide student-athletes with athletic financial awards despite any cancellations.

Three U SPORTS conferences announced the postponement of fall competition on Monday: Canada West, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the AUS. The remaining U SPORTS conference, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), is still examining their options and “will announce their plans in the near future,” U SPORTS said.

The AUS, U SPORTS and the other conferences are discussing how and if sports will continue from January 2021 onwards. Such an announcement, according to U SPORTS, should be expected in the fall.

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