On July 22, the Northwest Conference Presidents' Council — the governing board charged with making decisions on behalf of member schools such as George Fox University — announced that a number of fall sports will be postponed until spring. The move comes as college and professional sports reckon with their immediate future during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Northwest Conference Presidents' Council has made the difficult decision to postpone competition in football, men's and women's soccer, women's rowing and women's volleyball for the fall of 2020," a release said. "The NWC is working to develop a schedule for competition for these sports in the spring.
"Men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's tennis will be permitted to play this fall in accordance with local, state and federal health directives. The Presidents' Council continues to support institutional autonomy regarding the decision to participate in intercollegiate athletics."
NWC schools, including GFU, have been working during the pandemic to develop reopening plans for students in the fall. For fans of the Bruins on the gridiron, soccer field, volleyball court and elsewhere, that will not include sporting events.
Instead, GFU football and its fellow teams plan to compete against other Division III schools in the spring, if the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Right now, the conference does not believe it is safe to engage in sports activities and winter sports like basketball remain up in the air.
An exact schedule for GFU's fall sports teams has not yet been finalized, but is expected to be released in the coming months. If no seasons occur, there is no word on how it will impact the eligibility of student-athletes going forward, who would lose a year of athletic competition under that situation.
Regardless, Stoffer Family Stadium will remain empty this fall for football games and soccer matches. GFU's cohorts across the conference will experience this long layoff as well.
"Practice and other athletically related activities for all sports at member institutions' campuses are permitted in accordance with NCAA Division III rules as well as institutional and state and local health directives," the release said. "The NWC will continue to monitor changing federal, state and local health directives and consult with our NWC health advisory group, the NCAA and public health officials as we look to make a decision on the upcoming winter season and beyond. We will provide updates as they become available."
For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on NWC sports, visit nwcsports.com. Updates on team schedules and potential movements or cancellations of seasons for GFU will be posted on athletics.georgefox.edu.
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