CIAA shuts down basketball

CHARLOTTE – Due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced Monday it has voted to cancel the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which was set to begin January 9, to include the 2021a CIAA Basketball Tournament.

In addition, the board also voted to cancel the women’s volleyball season, which had been moved to the spring from the fall.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to challenge the conference’s ability to see a clear path to move forward collectively,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams.

“The impact to health and wellness, community concerns, as well as the economic ramifications are real. I want to commend our Board of Directors for exemplifying courageous leadership in college sports to ensure the well-being of the CIAA as well as the health and safety of our student-athletes and communities.”

The decision by the conference comes a week after league-member Virginia State announced its decision not to participate in basketball this season. CIAA member Lincoln (Pa.) has played five non-conference games (3-0, 2 exhibitions) before the Jan. 9 date to begin CIAA play.

“This was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly by the CIAA Board,” said Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Dr. Makola Abdullah who announced his institution’s decision a week ago.

“We all want to have a season, and we want our student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a season. However, the data, which changes almost daily, does not support such a decision. The potential risk outweighs the desire to play.”

In lieu of games being cancelled and no in-person events, the CIAA still plans to engage alumni, students, and fans during what is traditionally tournament week, in the last week of February, through a virtual experience.

 The platform will feature a host of ancillary events – including several that have become cornerstones of tournament week such as CIAA Fan Fest and the CIAA Step Show. More details, including a full schedule of events, interactive fan promotions, and other activations, will be released at a later time.

The league had decided earlier that there would be football or cross country in the spring.

 A decision on other spring seasons and championships will be provided later as the conference and its membership continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape while following current federal, state, local, NCAA, and campus guidelines.