The University of Mary is one of 16 schools impacted by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s decision to cancel fall sports. The decision came as a 16-0 unanimous vote as it joined nearly every other conference in the country by canceling fall sports.
“We had the attitude that we wanted to play this fall,” athletic director Dale Lennon said. “This was something that we wanted to have happen, but we were not going to do it at an all costs type price.”
Lennon says one of the biggest factors in the decision was due to schools not being able to meet requirements from the NCAA board of governors for continuous testing. Now, coaches are turning their focus to what’s ahead.
“Kind of the same mindset as after a game,” head football coach Craig Bagnell said. “You’ve got 24 hours to let it sink in. You’ve got 24 hours to maybe mope about it, but then the next day the sun is going to rise and we’re going to move forward.”
Athletes do have the ability to opt-out of participation in activities, and they will not lose a year of eligibility unless competition is played in the spring, which is when many seniors will have to make a decision on returning to school.
“Some of our seniors will have some decisions to make,” head soccer coach Sarah Cook said. “Do they come back and use that year of eligibility if it’s still available, and what that means. I think that can only mean great things for the future of our squads as well.”
UMary coaches all agreed that the cancellation provides unique opportunities for them to prepare for next season in ways they usually would not be able to.