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Gustavus winter sports teams will begin their conference seasons on Saturday, Feb. 6 after the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Presidents’ Council voted to approve plans for a return to competitive athletics this winter.

The MIAC winter sports of basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving will be permitted to participate in regular season competition. The MIAC will not host winter-sport playoffs nor conference postseason championship meets; however, participation in NCAA championship competition will be permitted for qualifying teams and individuals. To prioritize focus on student-athlete and staff safety, spectators will not be allowed at MIAC contests during the winter season.

The basketball and hockey schedules will feature seven MIAC contests following a single round-robin format, wherein each participating team will play every other team once, with the team achieving the best winning percentage while completing at least 51 percent of the schedule claiming the MIAC championship and automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, teams will have the opportunity to schedule up to four non-conference contests beginning on Jan. 29. The MIAC will not host basketball or hockey playoffs in 2021.

Regular season basketball games will be played at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays, with midweek and weekend hockey contests set for 7 p.m., pending facility availability.

MIAC indoor track and field and swimming and diving programs will be able to participate in regular season meets at the discretion of each institution, as there is no assigned conference schedule for these sports; however, due to safety and logistical concerns, the typical postseason conference championship meets for these sports will not be held this winter. Gustavus gymnastics, which competes in the WIAC, is finalizing its schedule with its first meet proposed for the last weekend in February. Gymnastics has six proposed meets, running through April 1. The final schedule will be posted as soon as it is approved.

Per the NCAA Division III blanket waiver issued last October, student-athletes may compete up to the established dates of competition maximums without being charged a season of intercollegiate participation during the 2020-21 academic year. All MIAC programs in the competition segment will follow the safety guidelines recommended by the NCAA Medical Advisory Board and Minnesota Department of Health. The complete MIAC COVID-19 Competition – which includes specific details regarding resocialization, conference protocols, and competition expectations – can be found here.

Planning continues for fall- and spring-sport competition and updated information will be provided as it becomes finalized.

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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