As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, St. Olaf College has made the difficult decision to cancel varsity athletic competitions during the 2020-21 winter sports season.
"After considering the current circumstances and predicted future circumstances of the global pandemic, we felt it was important to continue to focus on the health and safety of our entire campus community and to make the difficult decision not to compete this winter," said St. Olaf Athletic Director Ryan Bowles.
This decision affects the sports of men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey, men's and women's swimming & diving, men's and women's alpine skiing, men's and women's Nordic skiing, and men's and women's indoor track & field.
"We are extremely disappointed for our student-athletes, in particular our seniors, who will not have the opportunity to compete this winter due to COVID-19," Bowles added. "They have worked tirelessly this fall in preparation for competition and we are grateful for that."
There has been no final decision at this time about the state of competition for spring sports, which includes St. Olaf's baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's outdoor track & field teams. Similarly, no decision has been made about the potential for rescheduling the 2020 fall sport or 2020-21 winter sport seasons in the spring.
"Now that a decision on winter competition has been made, our focus shifts to providing our winter sport student-athletes with the best experience possible for the remainder of the academic year," said Bowles. "Teams will be permitted to practice upon their return next semester under the guidance of the athletics COVID-19 policy, as well as all campus policies."
St. Olaf is the second Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) member to cancel in-person competition this winter along with Carleton, which made the announcement on Oct. 23. Numerous other academic peer institutions across the country have made the decision to not participate in athletic competition this winter.