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CCIW postpones fall sports: 'Intercollegiate athletics continues to pose a significant increased risk'

CCIW postpones fall sports: 'Intercollegiate athletics continues to pose a significant increased risk'

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As fall college sports across the country try to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, a big blow was dealt Monday in the NCAA Division III ranks.

The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin — a power in a number of sports, including football — announced it was postponing fall conference competitions after a unanimous vote from its Council of Presidents.

“The highest priority at each institution is the health and wellbeing of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campus communities and intercollegiate athletics continues to pose a significant increased risk,” the CCIW’s statement read.

“Although the DIII Management Council has recommended to the NCAA Board of Governors that they cancel all DIII Fall Championships, the CCIW COP has charged the conference staff with exploring competition opportunities for cross country, football, soccer and volleyball in the spring, while maintaining conference competition for all spring sports including golf and tennis.”

A start date for winter sports, including basketball, has not been decided.

Carroll University and Carthage College represent Wisconsin in the CCIW. Carroll and Carthage’s cross country, football, golf, soccer, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball programs will have their schedules altered by the move.

"This decision was not taken lightly," Carroll president Cindy Gnadinger wrote in a statement.

“We explored all options available to bring our fall student-athletes back in a safe manner this season. Unfortunately, postponing competitions was the best way to keep our student-athletes safe in what will be a unique fall semester."

The CCIW’s decision means last year’s D-III football champion, North Central, won’t play until the spring semester, if at all, after dismantling UW-Whitewater 41-14 in the championship game.

Unlike the NACC, which announced it would postpone conference play until next year, the CCIW’s statement did not indicate whether teams would be permitted to play non-conference games. CCIW teams will be allowed to practice in some form.

Five of the six D-III conferences with Wisconsin representatives have announced a scheduling model of only conference competition or postponing conference competition. The WIAC has not announced a decision yet, but has had a number of non-conference games across its sports canceled. 

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