CHICAGO, IL – Following the lead of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Saint Xavier University announced on Wednesday that it will push all of its fall sports to the spring of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
On Tuesday, the NAIA Council of Presidents ruled that the association’s championships for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball will be moved to the spring in response to the pandemic.
The Council of Presidents has yet to decide on what it will do with the NAIA football championship. That decision will come on Friday after league officials and school presidents said because of the unique challenges football presents, more time is needed to make a final decision about how the season will be scheduled.
“The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a news release announcing the moving of fall sports. “However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week.”
According to a news release issued on Wednesday, Saint Xavier officials said that while respective conferences within the NAIA have the right to determine whether to continue to keep championship events for fall sports as currently scheduled, Saint Xavier indicated it will move all competitions “to a later time when concerns over student-athlete health and safety are lessened."
Decisions on how the spring sports calendar will shape up is yet to be determined as the university continues to assess the pandemic’s impact on campus life, officials said. In June, the NAIA announced it would reduce its football season to a nine-game schedule with games beginning no earlier than Sept. 12.
The remainder of the fall sports, however, have been delayed until spring.
"We hurt for our student-athletes and coaches at SXU, as well as those across the country who are being affected by this," Saint Xavier athletic director Allison Kern said in a news release. "Our staff has spent a lot of time planning, evaluating all the moving parts, and speaking with colleagues across the country to consider every factor. It became apparent that this was a tough, but necessary decision to make. Our focus continues to be on the health and safety of our student-athletes, and our goal to provide them a meaningful student-athlete experience."