Midwest Conference suspends conference competition in athletics through Dec. 31

Knox College
Knox College(Flickr: Joe Hardenbrook)
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 2:46 PM CDT
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(KWQC) - The 10 member institutions of the Midwest Conference announced Monday that league competition will be suspended through Dec. 31.

As a result, Knox College Prairie Fire student-athletes will not compete in conference play in the fall sports of men's cross country; women's cross country; football; men's soccer; women's soccer; and volleyball, the college said in a media release.

Athletes also will not compete in conference play in the winter sports of men's and women's indoor track and field; men's and women's swimming and diving; and men's and women's basketball through the end of 2020.

The Knox men’s and women’s golf programs compete in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and similar discussions are ongoing about those fall competitive seasons, the college said.

The Prairie Fire Athletics Department is developing programs to continue to provide student-athletes with meaningful experiences throughout the fall, the college said in the release.

These could include non-conference competition, practice, small group training, skill development, life skills development, leadership training, nutrition for athletes education, and/or strength and conditioning within safety guidelines. “This is a disappointing day for our student-athletes, but they should not be without hope,” Knox College Director of Athletics Daniella Irle said. “We will keep moving forward to reimagine their athletics seasons to ensure they have the most robust competitive experience possible this year. There are many options remaining to be explored, and I am confident that our Prairie Fire student-athletes and coaches will continue to adapt and adjust to changing environments. They are a resilient group, and we will continue to navigate the COVID landscape together.”

She added, “A decision on winter and spring sports competition calendars, fall sports non-conference competition opportunities for all sports, and the feasibility of fall sports competing in the spring will be made in the coming weeks both at the institutional level and the conference level.”

  The presidents of the Midwest Conference member institutions made Monday’s decision in coordination with representative athletic directors in order to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators, their families, and broader campus and local communities.

The Midwest Conference joins a majority of NCAA Division III conferences that have suspended fall and winter sports because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We did everything we could over the past couple of months to develop schedules, event management protocols, and testing policies so that we could compete this fall,” said MWC Executive Director Heather Benning. “However, due to the recent sustained surge of cases across the country, and a lack of guaranteed access to timely and reliable testing with the frequency recommended by the NCAA, the Conference does not feel it is in a position to sponsor intercollegiate athletic competition at this time.”

In addition to Knox College, members of the Midwest Conference include Beloit College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College, and St. Norbert College. The MWC will continue to monitor the factors impacting the decision for suspension of the fall and winter sport seasons, and take action to resume athletic competition when it is deemed safe to do so. “COVID-19 has tested us in so many ways, but I am confident that the spirit of the Prairie Fire will not be broken,” Knox College President Teresa Amott said. “I look forward to supporting our student-athletes during this fall and winter season unlike any other.”

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