After cancelling fall play in June, the OUA, under the direction of its Board of Directors, has cancelled all sanctioned sport programming and championship play up to March 31, 2021. At RMC, Thursday’s decision affects the regular season and championships of the varsity hockey, volleyball, and fencing teams.
Additionally, U SPORTS announced that it cannot offer the 2021 winter national championships due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“While disappointing to be without sport for another term, I think this is the right course of action to best protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff, and wider community,” RMC Director of Athletics Darren Cates said. “I especially empathize with our graduating student-athletes right now. I know this is not the final year you imagined.”
In a normal year, mid-October is the busiest season for the Paladins, as the soccer and rugby teams would still be competing in their fall seasons, while volleyball and fencing would be preparing for the bulk of their competition, and hockey would already have the first few regular season games under their belts. For now, any semblance of competition will have to wait.
“After significant consultation with our members and advisors, we have determined that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to March 31st,” Chair of the OUA Board of Directors Dr. Deborah MacLatchy said. “We recognize how disappointing this is to many, especially our student-athletes, but these are unprecedented times.”
Unlike its decision regarding fall competition, the OUA has granted its member institutions the autonomy to determine involvement in exhibition play for all sports, effective January 1, 2021, in accordance with regional public health guidelines and sport-specific return to train policies.
“A decision like this is never easy to make,” OUA President and CEO Gord Grace said. “To continue to uphold the health and safety of all participants, however, it remains a necessary step to take, and I commend the OUA Board of Directors for their work and decision-making throughout this process.”
RMC’s recreation and competitive clubs, who are not sanctioned OUA teams, are permitted to continue their return to train processes, but will also be without competition this winter.
For more details, read the complete statements from the conference offices: