Illinois Wesleyan University has learned its fall sports season will be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
University presidents in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) announced Monday the league has suspended seasons for men's and women's cross country, football, women's golf, men's and women's soccer, women's tennis, and women's volleyball.
League officials said they would explore the possibility of creating opportunities for them to compete in the spring.
"This decision was a very difficult one, both for the CCIW conference and for Illinois Wesleyan," IWU President Georgia Nugent said in a news release. "We recognize how disappointing it will be for our student-athletes not to have conference competition this fall. But we must put safety first, and the CCIW presidents, after many hours of deliberation, believe this is the right decision, in light of the heightened risk that travel and competition present."
A number of Division III conferences already had decided to suspend fall sports.
The NCAA last week announced guidelines for colleges and universities to follow to allow for sports to resume. Those guidelines included expansive COVID-19 testing, masking, social distancing and daily health checks for all athletes and staff.
"We worked very hard all summer at both the conference and institutional level to develop several scenarios that would allow us to return safely to full athletic competition," said IWU Athletic Director Mike Wagner. “However, one of the primary assumptions was that the spread of the virus and the number of active cases would be very low at the end of the summer months. Instead, a significant portion of the country is dealing with increases in both cases and hospitalizations.”
The CCIW said a decision about winter sports will be made in the coming weeks.
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