The NAIA Council of Presidents voted to postpone championships in cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer, and women's volleyball to the spring because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NAIA announced late Tuesday night.
The ruling still permits NAIA conferences to compete in the fall if they so choose, but there will be no national championship tournament at the end of their seasons if they do so. NAIA schools in northeast Indiana include Saint Francis, Indiana Tech, Huntington and Grace.
“Given the fast-paced and constantly-changing nature of the current environment, the (Council of Presidents) recognized that the likelihood of safely completing the fall sports season has decreased significantly,” Saint Francis president and COP chair Arvid Johnson said in a statement. “This decision allows conferences to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 when determining the appropriate time for regular season competition.”
The NAIA has not yet made a decision on the fate of football this fall. The council of presidents will rule Friday on whether to move the football national championship tournament – won by Saint Francis in 2016 and 2017 – to the spring. The rationale behind waiting to make that decision is to get more feedback from member schools on how the logistics of a spring football championship would work.
“The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships,” NAIA president and CEO Jim Carr said in a statement. “However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week."