In a press release, U Sports declared today that due to the COVID-19 situation, the organization is unable to offer the 2020-21 National Championships.
U Sports is the national sport governing body of university sport in Canada, comprising most degree-granting universities in the country. Until 2016 its name was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
Roughly 20,000 student-athletes participate in varsity sport at 56 schools across Canada.
“Following consultations with the four conferences, we agreed that student-athlete safety remains our top priority,” said Dick White, U SPORTS Interim Chief Executive Officer. “It is not logistically possible for teams to be traveling across the country at this time. Therefore, U SPORTS is in the unfortunate position where we are unable to offer the 2021 winter championships.”
Another critical consideration impacting today’s announcement is the variety of local and provincial health restrictions facing championship hosts.
Teams flying to other provinces with varying pandemic restrictions and returning is problematic, as is the financial burden of hosting a national championship without fans and reduced sponsorship, White said.
U SPORTS is responsible for national eligibility and compliance as well as national championships, while the conferences oversee the regular season and the qualification pathways to championships via their post-seasons. The conferences are free to determine if they will move forward with competitions this year.