Winter season of Atlantic University Sport cancelled

·2 min read

There will be no 2020-21 varsity season for the 11 universities that make up the Atlantic University Sport conference.

The governing body has decided to scrap the winter season because of how hard the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Atlantic Canada.

"We had hoped to be able to get to a place where we could see some semblance of a regular season and postseason take place for our winter sport student-athletes," said Phil Currie, AUS executive director, in a news release.

"Unfortunately, given the current realities in many of our regions, and evolving Public Health directives, this won't be possible."

That's despite the work of a special committee comprising athletic directors from each of the four Atlantic provinces, along with two representatives from AUS. The group worked for weeks on developing plans for safe travel and play between the 11 universities that make up the conference.

It recommended league play and championships go ahead if Public Health rules permitted it.

"The number one in the recommendations was to get back to a league schedule with championships, so it was certainly something we examined and in our committee took a close look look at, but we have to also deal in reality," said Currie. "And reality is the epidemiology just doesn't allow it."

Although there will be no conference-sanctioned regular seasons or postseasons this year, individual universities are permitted to play at a level they are comfortable with, with teams in close proximity to one another. It will be up to the universities to decide whether they will pit teams against one another, given local restrictions.

"They can play among themselves (if) it's safe to do so and in line with what's happening with the epidemiology at the time," he said. "I think that's for us a win."

"It's unfortunate that we can't get the league play."

Winter sports include hockey, basketball, volleyball, swimming, curling and track and field.

AUS cancelled the fall season in June of this year.