MIAA delays start of fall practices, competition due to COVID-19
Fall practices can begin the week of August 31st.
The MIAA announced on Monday it is pushing back the start of fall practice to August 31st, and the start of fall competition to the week of September 28th.
“I think it’s the right decision at this time,” says Steve Scott, Pitt State President and Chairman of the MIAA CEO Council, “but it’s painful as well.”
For most volleyball and soccer programs, that means missing out on four games. For football, it means picking up the schedule starting in week four.
The news will come as a disappointment to Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern fans.
The two teams were scheduled to meet in the season opener in Pittsburg on September 12th.
“I don’t think we were shocked that an announcement came, but other leagues have been announcing cancellations,” says Missouri Southern head coach Jeff Sims.
“We really treated this as good news, knowing we still have an opportunity to play and something to work for and look forward to,” adds Brian Wright, first-year head coach of the Gorillas, “It’s good to be a part of a group and an organization that still wants to give us a chance this fall.”
MIAA commissioner Mike Racy says the football games the league misses out on in the first three weeks may be made up, depending on potential postseason schedule changes for the NCAA.
He also says for this new schedule to stick, the league needs the help of the people.
“We need our fans, we need our students, we need our university employees and we need our communities to be socially responsible,” Racy says.
“The tough part is, not only do we need Pittsburg State and Crawford County to be doing well, we need Jasper County and Joplin to be doing well and Kearney, Nebraska for us to have a full slate of activities and sports events,” Scott adds.
The league’s CEO Council will meet again in August.
Racy says despite some other conferences already canceling fall seasons, the MIAA will continue to work to get their teams on the field.
“We look around and there are number of conferences that are throwing in the towel and giving up. That’s not us. That’s not the MIAA way,” he finishes, “If things continue to get bad, we’ll go down with the ship. We’ll be the last ones to jump, but we are committed to make this work.”