This follows the cancellation of fall games and championships announced in July
U SPORTS, the governing body of Canadian university sports, officially canceled national championships and games in the 2021 winter portion of the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation extends until March 31.
Apart from Atlantic University Sport (AUS), the three other conferences are not hosting games and championships. This includes Ryerson University’s Ontario University Association (OUA).
In its official statement, U SPORTS said it requires three participating conferences to offer national championships.
The sports affected by these cancellations include basketball, hockey, swimming, volleyball, track and field, and wrestling, according to the U SPORTS website.
“Student-athlete safety remains our top priority,” said U SPORTS interim chief executive officer Dick White in a statement made following consultations with the four conferences.
“It is not logistically possible for teams to be travelling across the country at this time. Therefore, U SPORTS is in the unfortunate position where we are unable to offer the 2021 winter championships.”
The decision to not host national championships this winter was a unanimous one by the U SPORTS board of directors and the four university sports conferences, according to the U SPORTS website.
The date of the announcement was chosen to provide student-athletes with “timely information” allowing them to make decisions on their future actions, according to the official statement. The Canada West conference initially pushed their Oct. 8 deadline to Nov. 2 to announce a decision on their season before the U SPORTS announcement.
“The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans remains OUA’s number one priority,” Dr. Deborah MacLatchy, chair of the OUA board of directors, said on the Ryerson Athletics website.
“We recognize how disappointing this is to many, especially our student-athletes, but these are unprecedented times. We are committed to delivering OUA Sport once it is safe to do so.”
The Ryerson Rams varsity teams that returned to practice are expected to continue their scheduled sessions in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) and other sectioned off facilities, according to Ryerson Athletics.
President Mohamed Lachemi stated earlier in the semester that the university is taking all necessary precautions to continue these on-campus practices.
Practices at the MAC and other facilities are “part of the experience that we want student-athletes to have on our campus,” Lachemi said in early October.
Despite the cancellations of games and championships, athletes are expected to prepare for potential exhibition games and the 2021 fall semester. The loss of this season will not affect the eligibility years of the athletes, according to U SPORTS reporter and Ryerson sports media student Ben Steiner.
Some athletes entering graduate studies have chosen to continue playing for their varsity teams, Steiner said, but fifth-year undergraduate seniors are not expected to return despite the eligibility exception this season.