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GLIAC votes to suspend all sports to 2021

HOUGHTON — The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to suspend all sports competition until 2021.

The council voted on Tuesday and the decision was announced Wednesday morning.

“The decision to suspend all sports competition this fall was extremely difficult,” GLIAC commissioner Kris Dunbar said. “After thoroughly reviewing federal, state, and NCAA Sport Science Institute and Board of Governor’s guidelines, it became apparent that conducting contests and championships this fall was insurmountable. My frustration and sadness for the coaches, student-athletes, families, and fans is 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.”

The decision effectively eliminates college football in the Copper Country after Finlandia announced it suspended all fall sports. Michigan Tech was scheduled to kick off the season Sept. 19 at Saginaw Valley State, with the home opener Sept. 26 against Wayne State. The Huskies volleyball program was set to return after a 24-8 overall record last year, their most since 1996, and an NCAA Tournament appearance for the third straight year.

The Huskies’ 100th hockey season is still in question. The WCHA has not yet decided on this season, with the Huskies set to start the season Oct. 3-4 at Wisconsin. An MTU press release Wednesday said “the winter and spring sports competition calendar will be announced at a later date.”

GLIAC student-athletes, including those at Michigan Tech, will be able to practice and take part in training adhering to local, state and NCAA guidelines.

“This is an extremely difficult decision that the GLIAC had to make,” Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret said in a press release. “Our top priority moving forward is to continue to support our student-athletes in every way possible to make sure they have a quality academic and athletic experience.

“We have a robust surveillance testing plan with daily symptom monitoring that will allow us to still hold skill instruction, strength and conditioning, and provide other developmental opportunities to build our student-athletes for seasons to come. Our coaches will face these challenges head-on and develop plans moving forward to support our Huskies. We thank our fans, alumni, and supporters for understanding and patience as we navigate through these difficult times.”

Michigan Tech is postponing the Sports Hall of Fame induction, dedication of the VIP Champions Pavilion and Kearly Stadium Press Box and the 1990 football reunion until the fall of 2021.

The Sports Hall of Fame induction, usually held every other year, will be held in 2021 and 2022.

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