Canadian university student-athletes hoping to get back into the game will continue to ride the bench for the 2020-21 fall season.
In an announcement made by Canada West on Monday, student-athletes will be unable to compete in any regular, playoff or championship games for any first-term team sports for the 2020-21 season.
Canada West’s decision will cancel the first term of football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby 15s, and women’s field hockey for the 2020-21 season.
This decision will also mean no two-term team sports will be able to start before Jan. 1 2021. Also, a decision will be made on individual sports like golf, swimming, and cross-country as early as July 15.
Student-athletes are ‘gutted’
Adam Huskic, a fourth-year engineering student and captain of the Dinos men’s soccer team will be one of the student athletes sidelined.
Huskic said this season would be his fourth year on the team and first year as the captain. He’s devastated that he won’t take to the pitch come September.
“I’m gutted, like most players looking forward to playing this year. I am really disappointed. But they made this decision and we have to deal with it,” he said.
Jason Kerswill, U of C athletic director, said in a teleconference Monday, that U of C is hopeful that there will still be a season for sports teams in the new year.
“I’m personally crushed and devastated that we’re not going to see our Dino student-athletes on the field of play this year,” Kerswill said.
“In Jan. 2021, If there’s a viable season there, I sincerely hope that our athletes will remain on campus and will return to play in Canada West.”
Kerswill went on to say that of the 500 varsity athletes at U of C, close to 250-300 student-athletes will be affected.
Little optimism they’ll be able to make up the game time
Huskic isn’t as optimistic as Kerswill. He said that come the new year, starting a season in winter doesn’t bode well for outdoor sports.
“Unlike other sports, soccer can’t be played in January because cold weather would be right around there,” Huskic said.
“Hopefully they can open up for indoor sports. But, there’s only one bubble field that supports 11 on 11 play so I don’t think we can’t pick it up in the new year.”
Cross-town rival, Mount Royal University said in a statement that they’re disappointed in the decision for their fans. They said they understand why it was made by Canada West.
“We can’t begin to understand how disappointed our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans must feel right now,” MRU said.
“We look forward to the day that our teams are able to compete for the Canada West and U Sports championship again.”