Simon Fraser University decided today (Thursday) that it will not conduct NCAA intercollegiate athletics competition in softball during the 2021 season, Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation, Theresa Hanson, announced.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and coaches will always be our top priority and the risks associated with COVID-19 continue to challenge our varsity athletic programs and our participation in NCAA competition this season,” said Hanson, in a news release. “The increased travel restrictions between Canada and the United States to reduce the spread of the virus has made competing within the GNAC prohibitive. At this time, we have made the difficult decision not to participate in Softball for spring 2021.”
SFU previously opted out of competition for winter sports programs basketball, indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling. NCAA Division II fall sports seasons for football, soccer, volleyball, and cross country were cancelled.
No decision has been made on the competitive sports seasons for SFU's spring championship sports of outdoor track and field and golf.
Earlier today, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced plans to move forward with conference schedules for baseball and softball and affirmed its commitment to conducting spring sports championships in decisions made by the conference’s Management Council and approved by the CEO Board on Thursday.
The GNAC plans to conduct a full 2021 baseball schedule with all five teams competing and plans to conduct a full softball schedule with six of the league’s seven teams competing. Due to the continued closure of the U.S./Canada border, SFU is unable to participate in the conference softball schedule.
The conference also affirmed its commitment to conduct its spring championships in the sports of golf, outdoor track and field and rowing. The GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships will take place May 14 and 15 at Western Oregon University. The 2021 GNAC Golf Championships will be conducted at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington. The two-day event will be held on April 19 and 20.
In order to ensure the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, officials and staff, and to provide the best opportunity to complete the spring seasons, spectators will not be allowed for regular-season home events at GNAC institutions and GNAC Spring Championships for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year.