The CIAA will not compete in basketball this season following a vote from the conference’s chancellors and presidents, citing growing concerns with COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to challenge the conference’s ability to see a clear path to move forward collectively,” Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said in a statement shared to the association’s official Twitter account.
The commissioner says canceling the season will mean a huge financial hit for the organization.
“There will definitely be a financial hit,” McWilliams said. “Moving football, although it’s not the biggest impact, it has a revenue impact on campuses with rivalry games and things like that. And with basketball the tournament (revenue) helps fund our other championships, but the great thing is in May when we built our budgets we did so with a worst-case scenario.”
WSSU chancellor Dr. Elwood Robinson said his fellow presidents and chancellors did not take the decision to cancel the season lightly, adding that every angle was examined.
“The CIAA is such a great conference because of our footprint in the multiple states,” Robinson said. “And each state is dealing with it differently and we wanted to equitable across the conference because it’s not bigger than an individual school or a collective number of schools. This decision was made in the best interest of the conference as a whole.”
“This was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly by the CIAA Board, Virginia State President and CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah said in a statement. “We all want to have a season, and we want our student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a season. However, the data, which changes almost daily, does not support such a decision. The potential risk outweighs the desire to play.”
Scheduled non-conference games can still play up to Jan. 9 if they are booked or in contract, but no games are to be played by any CIAA schools after that date.