CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) will not hold their NCAA sports competition sponsored by the conference this fall because of ongoing safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The athletic conference cited "dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases" in several states where their CIAA member schools are located. Seven of the member schools are located either in North Carolina or South Carolina, two states reporting rising cases numbers and record-setting levels of coronavirus patient hospitalizations.
“The main priority of the Board and conference is the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Virginia State University President & CIAA Board Chair Makola Abdullah said in a released statement. “Although this decision is not ideal, it does afford all of us an opportunity to continue working through best practices to ensure our communities as a whole are in the best possible position moving forward.”
Decisions concerning winter and spring sports will be made at a later time.
"While there will be no athletic competition in the fall, we will continue to support opportunities that enhance the experiences of our student-athletes, member institutions, and partners," a provided statement from CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams reads.
At the recommendation of the CIAA Athletic Directors Association, the conference will explore the possibility of a modified schedule of competition for football and volleyball as well as men’s and women’s cross country during the spring of 2021.
Johnson C Smith University President, Clarence D. Armbrister released a statement on CIAA decision:
"The health and safety of all students is the top priority of Johnson C. Smith University. We support the CIAA’s decision to delay fall 2020 sports due to rise of COVID-19 cases in the geographic area of our institutions. We realize some of our student-athletes, coaches and fans may be disappointed by the decision. However, we believe it is the right thing to do during this pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of student-athletes, coaches, the athletics staffs and fans.
JCSU is committed to the intellectual, cultural and social development of our students. Student-athletes are also scholars, and we take just as much pride in their academic and co-curricular accomplishments as we do their achievements in sports competitions. We will fulfill our promise to fall sports student-athletes and honor their scholarships. We look forward to their continued contributions in the classroom and as campus leaders."
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA member schools consist of Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University.