Division III Midwest Conference Axes Winter Sports Season

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The Midwest Conference announced Thursday that it will not sponsor league competition or championships for fall or winter sports in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving are among the affected sports, along with men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s indoor track & field and volleyball. The Midwest Conference joins a number of leagues that have postponed or cancelled winter sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Midwest Conference, which competes in Division III, includes 10 schools in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa – Beloit College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College and St. Norbert College. The league is celebrating its 100th season this year.

“While we are disappointed that our fall and winter student athletes won’t be able to compete in the traditional Midwest Conference schedule, the health and safety of our campuses remains the top priority of our institutions,” said Zach Messitte, Ripon College president and chair of the MWC Presidents’ Council. “We are hopeful that individual teams will continue to practice and, if appropriate, perhaps compete in some limited capacity in the months ahead.”

Thursday’s decision expressed optimism toward some semblance of a normal spring season, which was wiped out last year. Citing the “evolving COVID-19 situation, as well as its impact on member campuses, local communities and the Midwest region” and the regional and national surges in COVID-19 cases, the Midwest Conference Presidents’ Council decided that returning to campuses – and thus, intercollegiate athletics – wasn’t feasible enough to be mandated across the conference.

Thursday’s release did, however, allow fall and winter athletes to continue “training, skill development and/or strength & conditioning sessions” at the discretion of each institution and program. The Presidents’ Council also endorsed the ability of what it called “institutional autonomy” to craft scrimmages or competitions with other schools as local conditions within the pandemic allow.

3 comments

  1. Sharon Chocko Gallagher

    Another mistake. They keep piling up. Amazing how football players survived this crisis and played on??

    • Liz Azinger

      Sharon Chocko Gallagher no sports winter or fall including football is having midwest conference seasons. All sports affected the same in this conference

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