Vikings athletics league-based sports season cancellation

Vikings athletics league-based sports season cancellation

Over the last several months the convergence of a global pandemic, cuts to the Campus Alberta Grant, and the provincial requirement for universities to balance their budgets has produced a worst-case scenario. These factors have brought most of our diverse revenue streams to a complete halt.

Universities across Canada have also reduced the fees their students will pay as a result of courses being delivered online in the fall. For the Fall of 2020, the University of Alberta has reduced the Athletics and Recreation fee paid by students by 30%. Many universities are dealing with the impact of these fundamental changes, and varsity programming across Canada has been impacted.

Fast forward to today and our new reality, the financial challenges, and the impact they are having on our varsity teams, student-athletes, and external programming are readily apparent. Vikings Athletics has been working closely with the Bears and Pandas to align our responses to these difficult circumstances. Our decisions were made in the interest of protecting the health and safety of athletes, fans, and staff.

And so it is with deep regret that Vikings Athletics—in alignment with the Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics announcement this week—take this step to announce the decision to withdraw from ACAC/CCAA participation in men's hockey, women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's volleyball for the 2020/21 season. The ACAC is currently engaged in the schedule creation process for those sports. We felt that it was important for us to declare our intention as soon as possible and before the scheduling work was undertaken.

While this is an extremely hard decision for us, it is in the best interest of student-athletes who must know what is in their varsity futures for the 2020-21 academic and competition year. Nonetheless, it is our intention to continue to provide opportunities for athletes to attend school, train, and compete (in whatever form that competition may take) without using up eligibility in a year that is likely to prove uncertain and challenging.

On the other hand, we currently intend to participate in tournament sports, including cross country running, cross country skiing, biathlon, and curling as long as it is safe to do so—even though decisions on those events have not yet been finalized by the ACAC/CCAA. We are able to do so because these involve single events hosted over the course of one weekend. In addition, we remain committed to our responsibility to host the 2021 ACAC Curling Championship. Final decisions on tournament-based sports and hosting will be made shortly.

So, what does this mean for the student-athletes? We will be student-athlete centered and intend to commence the 2020-21 season on Sept. 1, 2020, with a focus on training and student-athlete development. Health and safety for all involved will continue to be the basis for future decision-making.

We also remain committed to those student-athletes who have previous commitments to receive Athletic Financial Assistance.

We once again wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. The last three months have introduced challenges, heartache, and disappointment into all of our lives. We hope that now we can move forward with the goal of creating the best experience possible for our student-athletes.