UNI Panthers

Missouri Valley Conference cancels fall sports

League looking into moving sports to spring

McLeod Center in Cedar Falls during a 2018 UNI volleyball match. (The Gazette)
McLeod Center in Cedar Falls during a 2018 UNI volleyball match. (The Gazette)

CEDAR FALLS — The Missouri Valley Conference announced the cancellation of its fall sports conference schedules and championships Friday afternoon and said it will look to move competition to the spring.

The league attributed its cancellation to “continuing uncertainty around the ability to play full-season league schedules safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The announcement comes one week after the Missouri Valley Football Conference — separate of the MVC — announced the cancellation of its fall season.

The MVC’s fall sports include volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer.

Part of its release also stated that during fall months, MVC student-athletes in all sports will be allowed to participate in athletics-related activities such as nonconference competition, practices, strength and conditioning, and team meetings that meet the institution’s health protocols.

UNI released a statement shortly afterward describing how less than 50 percent of the division’s teams participating nationally this fall led to the cancellation of postseason play. It did not indicate whether or not any of its fall sports would seek nonconference competitions; however, after last week’s MVFC cancellation, it stated its football program was not seeking nonconference opportunities.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes are first and foremost in our decision making and have been from the beginning of this pandemic,” UNI athletics director David Harris said in the release. “That doesn’t take away the heartbreak that we feel with the decision to push the season to the spring.

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“We will shift our focus to the spring and encourage the NCAA to find a model for championships that provide opportunities for student-athletes from all conferences to be represented.”

UNI season-ticket holders have the following options after the MVC cancellation:

• Transfer season tickets to the spring season. Panther Scholarship Club seat contributions are still required and must be pledged by Oct. 1. Those that transfer football season tickets to the spring and make their PSC pledge by the deadline will receive 200 Panther Points.

• Transfer the balance of your account to the Panther Scholarship Club as a 100-percent tax-deductible donation.

• Apply the balance of your account as a credit toward fall 2021 season tickets.

• Receive a full refund.

Season ticket holders have until Sept. 1 to make a decision. UNI says if a spring season proves to not be feasible, a representative will reach out to discuss their options at that time.

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