GNAC looks to begin competition in January
Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer
Athletes and fans of the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) are anxious to know how the winter and fall sports seasons will play out. The most recent release of information about these seasons was given on Oct. 2nd, when the CEO Board of the GNAC approved the initial plans of playing fall sports in the spring, if feasible, as well as delaying the start of winter sports to January.
The CEO Board decided it was best for the winter sports of basketball, both men’s and women’s, and indoor track and field to start no sooner than January 7th. Their hope is that by pushing back the season it will give the athletes, coaches, and others involved in those programs to learn how to properly follow the GNAC and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) COVID-19 safety protocols. The release also states specifically that no institutions will be participating in outside competition prior to that date in January. It is also important to note that the date to start these sports is still under constant evaluation and could be moved forward or pushed back depending on the status of COVID-19 in the conference. Hopefully, winter sports will be able to begin on that date in January, but with the holiday season approaching there could be a surge in COVID-19 cases, causing the date to be delayed.
On a positive note, the GNAC board did approve for the fall sports of soccer, both men’s and women’s, and volleyball (if feasible) to be played in the Spring. Many will keep a look out for the schedule for these sports which will be released in upcoming weeks. The women’s soccer season will be played out in one cumulative GNAC Women’s Soccer Championship which will be held at Western Washington University. The men’s soccer season will take place in the same fashion, with a GNAC Men’s Soccer Championship. The Board is still determining the best course of action for having cross country in the late winter or spring, and plans for a women’s volleyball season.
There was concern for football being moved to the spring and then continuing to have a season in the fall of 2021. Two seasons in one year could lead to many more injuries than playing one season, and as a result, the CEO Board determined that football would not be played in the spring. However, the board wants the teams to be able to condition, practice, and prepare for their 2021 fall season after a year of no competition.
The CEO board had also released that although there may be an indoor track season, there will be no GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championship. The venue that the championship event used was the Jackson’s Indoor Center at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa Idaho. Unfortunately, this center will no longer be hosting track and field events and other centers that had the ability to host a large event like the Indoor Championships were unavailable.