Five days from today, the Ferris football team would be getting ready to kick off the 2020 season with National Championship expectations.
Instead, the GLIAC postponed the football season along with the rest of athletic competition until Jan. 1, 2021 in a decision made back on Aug. 11.
“Our council of presidents and GLIAC athletic directors weighed this decision from every angle, hoping to find a feasible option for student-athletes to compete this fall, but in the end, the potential risks to student-athletes, coaches, support staff and fans made fall competition impossible,” said Dr. Richard Pappas of Davenport University, who is the GLIAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors chair for 2020-21.
The GLIAC does, however, have tentative plans in place to provide opportunities for athletic competition during the spring semester for the fall teams as well as for winter and spring sports teams.
“Plans to provide fall teams with competition opportunities during the spring semester are a priority for the league,” said Pappas. “We look forward to getting our student-athletes back on campus so they can resume training, and our members remain devoted to providing a quality student-athlete experience despite these challenging circumstances.”
As far as training is concerned, GLIAC student-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in athletic training and practice in adherence to NCAA, institutional, local, and state guidelines.
Said guidelines are also the same reason why the decision to postpone sports was the only plausible conclusion that could be reached.
“After thoroughly reviewing federal, state, and NCAA SSI (Sports Science Institute) and Board of Governor’s guidelines, it became apparent that conducting contests and championships this fall was insurmountable,” said GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar. “My frustration and sadness for the coaches, student-athletes, families, and fans are unmitigated. The league will continue to work on protocols for a safe return for our athletic programs, with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff taking the highest priority.”
Whether any of this will be possible come the spring semester remains to be seen, but the conference plans to continue to monitor the situation and remain hopeful that it can make things work. As of right now, the GLIAC plans to continue to gather information in order to make the best decision possible when the time is right. They also plan to monitor developments in order to best determine a competitive structure during the second semester.
So while the football team will have to wait for their chance to get back to the National Championship game after a year hiatus, there is hope that they’ll at least get back on the field sometime in the near future.
The winter and spring sports competition calendar will be announced at a later date.