Due to the ongoing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, high school and college sports leagues across the country are being forced to alter their 2020 fall sports seasons.

Below is a rundown of the latest decisions being made by leagues and conferences that impact teams in the Northland.

High School

Minnesota State High School League

The MSHSL Board of Directors met on Aug. 4 to determine the status of 2020 fall sports. Football and volleyball have been moved to the late winter and early spring, to be played between those two seasons from March 15-May 15, 2021.

Soccer, cross country, girls tennis and girls swimming and diving have been approved for the fall with restrictions and changes in scheduling. Practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 17.

The fate of state tournaments will be discusses at a later date.

Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association

The WIAA announced on July 23 it plans to conduct a fall sports season, but with a delayed start.

Girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and boys and girls cross country will begin practicing on Monday, Aug. 17 with additional protocols. Football, boys soccer and volleyball will begin practicing on Monday, Sept. 7.

The earliest competition dates are Aug. 20 for girls golf, Aug. 21 for girls tennis and Aug. 25 for cross country and girls swimming. The earliest competition dates for boys soccer and boys and girls volleyball are Sept. 15. The earliest competition date for football will be Wednesday, Sept. 23, if the first practice is conducted Sept. 7.

Other states

The National Federation of State High School Associations has compiled a roundup of fall sports updates from across the country. As of Aug. 6, 33 states have announced delays or alterations to their fall sports seasons. Of those, 11 states and the District of Columbia will not play football in the fall.



Minnesota Duluth running back Wade Sullivan (26) rushes the ball during practice last season at Malosky Stadium. The Bulldogs football team was scheduled to begin practicing on Aug. 17, but the NSIC has moved the start date for football, and other fall sports, back to September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. File / News Tribune
Minnesota Duluth running back Wade Sullivan (26) rushes the ball during practice last season at Malosky Stadium. The Bulldogs football team was scheduled to begin practicing on Aug. 17, but the NSIC has moved the start date for football, and other fall sports, back to September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. File / News Tribune

College

The NCAA announced on Aug. 5 that all Division II and Division II fall sports championship events have been canceled, though leagues and individual schools may continue to play in the fall of 2020 if they meet the requirements issued by the NCAA Board of Governors.

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

The NSIC, home to the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II sports, announced on July 27 it is delaying the start of the 2020 fall sports seasons.

Football and cross country are scheduled to start practicing on Wednesday, Sept. 2 with the first competitions pushed back to Sept. 26. Volleyball and soccer won’t begin practices until Tuesday, Sept. 8 with the first competitions scheduled for Oct. 2.

The NSIC is only playing conference schedules in the fall. All nonconference games have been canceled.

Upper Midwest Athletic Conference

The NCAA Division III home of St. Scholastica (until 2021-22) and Wisconsin-Superior announced July 30 it “will pursue opportunities to provide conference competition in the spring” for football, soccer and volleyball, however, all three sports will be allowed to engage in nonconference competition in the fall at the discretion of the institution.

Golf will continue in the fall, as will cross country. Both will be limited to conference-only competition.

In its version of the UMAC release, Wisconsin-Superior wrote it “will not entertain any outside competition during the 2020 fall semester,” for volleyball and soccer (the Yellowjackets don’t sponsor football).

St. Scholastica, in its FAQ, wrote it will continue to explore contests, matches and meets for all of its fall sports (football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf).

Other NCAA Division II and III leagues

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — future home of St. Scholastica athletics starting in 2021-22 — announced on July 28 it is moving the majority of its fall sports to the spring, with only tennis and golf having the option to play in the fall.

Elsewhere in Division III, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced on July 27 it has canceled the 2020-21 football, women’s soccer, volleyball, and cross country seasons. Women’s tennis and women’s golf have been postponed to the spring.

In Division II, the GLIAC has opted for a conference-only schedule for fall sports while the Great Lakes Valley Conference has postponed the majority of fall sports to the second semester.

NCAA.com has a running list of COVID-19 news and schedule changes here.

College hockey

For the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs, neither the NCHC (men) nor WCHA (women) have announced changes for the 2020-21 seasons, however, there have been changes in scheduling.

The UMD men’s hockey program has pushed the Ice Breaker Tournament at Amsoil Arena back to 2021 and a nonconference flight for a series at UMass-Lowell has been replaced by a nonconference bus trip for a series at Northern Michigan.

The UMD women’s program has also eliminated all nonconference flights for the 2020-21 season and will likely play an almost exclusively WCHA schedule this year, though no formal announcement has been made yet by the school or league.

The six Ivy League members of ECAC Hockey have suspended play until Jan. 1, 2021, leading to a push by teams out east to suspend all conference play in Division I college hockey until Jan. 1.

In Division III hockey, no announcements have been made by the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association — home of the St. Scholastica men and women. The WIAC — the home of the Wisconsin-Superior men and women — has made no announcements about hockey, either.

A number of Division III men’s and women’s leagues have announced the postponement of conference play until Jan. 1, 2021.

This story was last updated at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6 with the latest information about high school fall sports nationally. It was also updated on Aug. 5, 2020 following the cancellation of the NCAA Division II and III postseason and on Aug. 4 following the announcement of the MSHSL's fall sports plan. It was originally posted at 3:21 p.m. on Jul 28, 2020.