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Alberta

ACAC suspends competition for Fall 2020

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RDC Athletics

From Red Deer College Communications

Red Deer College supports decision and will alter upcoming Athletics season

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) has decided to suspend competition during the 2020 Fall term due to COVID-19 precautions.

As a result, an adjusted conference schedule will begin in January 2021, which includes a delay to cross country running and soccer seasons until the spring.

“As a member of the ACAC, Red Deer College supports the decision and recognizes that it was made very carefully with the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, officials, athletics staff and fans in mind,” says RDC President Dr. Peter Nunoda. “While the announcement is emotional for many, the College is dedicated to working with our student-athletes, coaches and staff during this time as we prepare to compete in the Winter term.”

Today’s announcement from the ACAC aligns with the decisions made from other conferences and governing bodies across the country due to COVID-19. The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), of which the ACAC is one of five conference members, cancelled four 2020 Fall National Championships, affecting the typical September start for RDC Soccer and Cross Country Running.

U Sports, the national governing body of university sport in Canada, cancelled six fall national university championships and many of its conference members also postponed league games.

Canada West cancelled team competitions for the 2020 Fall term. Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) postponed their sanctioned sport programming and championships until January. Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) has not made a formal announcement.

“I understand that the suspension of fall competition is disappointing for many, but the College and RDC Athletics will support our student-athletes on many levels, one of which includes our commitment to awarding RDC athletics scholarships to student-athletes who meet revised eligibility criteria,” says RDC Athletic Director Diane St-Denis.

“RDC Athletics is collaborating with the College’s Ancillary & Sport Services to identify a return to training plan for our teams, according to the health and safety protocols set by the Government of Alberta. Our coaches will stay highly engaged with our student-athletes over the following months, overseeing the training programs in preparation for a January start.”

While sports activity within the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will look much different for the fall, there is plenty of excitement for competition in the new year. In addition to the regular season commencing in January, the Red Deer College Queens will host the ACAC Women’s Volleyball Championship from Feb. 25-27, 2021 at the Centre. Then shortly after, the RDC Queens Basketball team will enter the postseason as hosts of the ACAC Championship from March 4-6, 2021.

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Edmonton

Hockey, basketball and volleyball gone from the U of A’s fall and winter to-do lists

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At almost any time in memory, Wednesday’s decision to remove hockey, basketball and volleyball from the University of Alberta’s fall and winter to-do lists would be considered a major surprise.

This year, I suspect fans and athletes should have been at least partially prepared for it. Blame the pandemic. That’s easy.

Explain that sponsorship money has dried up and every available penny must be saved to keep professors employed and students involved. That’s easy, too. Some are sure to suggest that there are deep political motives in this move to move beyond the Bears and Pandas for one year. Maybe. Maybe not. Rightly or wrongly, political movements are seen in every action these days.

If additional explanations are required, Alberta’s UCP government is sure to be singled out as cause number three; they inherited an entity in severe financial difficulty, ensuring that some budget cuts would be made as soon as possible after the NDP lost political control of the province.

This, of course, occurred well before the coronavirus crisis created overwhelming proof that sport, certainly in Canada, is something of an after-thought at all levels of society. As this is written, every professional sport is being exposed on a daily basis as a means for millionaires and billionaires to fatten their bankrolls. If timely political statements are necessary, fine; they’ll be made, but no rational soul would dare to suggest that sport has actual relevance in this time of incoherent arguments and twisted responses.

In one old scribbler’s opinion, good news ultimately will develop, almost as a result of the disappearance of the Bears and Pandas for at least one season. A move so dramatic at a level so vital is sure to create deep thought.

Which is where university sport fits in the puzzle. These organizations are the home of undoubted brilliance. In many ways, they create the model for all amateurs and low-profile professionals to follow. One day, perhaps soon, this world-wide rash of social, physical and emotional misery will be behind us. Then, cohorts of tough and committed leaders across the entire spectrum of athletics will have to step up. They will be obligated to contribute time and effort in a search for the best possible ways to ensure excellence in scholastics, citizenship and competition.

Now, looking back for even a few years, it’s essential to remember that amateur sports were being painfully slammed by financial necessities before COVID-19’s destructive arrival.

Athletic directors at U of A and MacEwan University have spoken of rising costs in tones that sometimes sounded almost desperate. I’m sure the same applies to the University of Calgary.

Similar words have been heard commonly in discussion with coaches and athletic directors at Alberta colleges. NAIT and Concordia leaders know the topic extremely well. So do alumni members working to keep hockey alive in the storied atmosphere of Camrose’s Augustana campus of the U of A.

In a lifetime of hearing old adages, one has stuck out since childhood:

“It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn.”

This corner hopes the dawn comes quickly.

All is Well in Soccer – So Far

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july, 2020

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