SAN ANTONIO – The domino effect has reached UIW.
On Thursday morning, the University of the Incarnate Word announced that they are postponing all athletics competition this fall, a decision which affects football, volleyball, soccer and cross country. Athletes in those programs will be allowed to stay on campus and participate in voluntary workouts in the coming months with the hope they will compete this spring.
The decision comes after a slew of cancellations and postponements over the past couple days, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have both pulled the plug on their teams’ seasons. The Southland Conference joined that growing list of conferences choosing to postpone only an hour before UIW’s official announcement.
“From the onset of the pandemic, our University has prioritized the health and safety of our students,” said UIW Athletic Director Richard Duran. “We refused to rush back and spent the summer putting a plan in place to meet the NCAA recommendations well before they became mandates. We strived to do the right thing for the right reasons, and we stay true to that approach.”
The Cardinals’ full press release is below:
UIW Cardinals Press Release (Thursday, August 13, 2020) -- The University of the Incarnate Word Athletics Department, out of an overwhelming concern for the health and safety of its student-athletes, staff and campus community, is postponing all competition for the Fall 2020. The Cardinals will hold voluntary practices and strength and conditioning sessions through the fall and look forward to the possibility of competing in the spring.
"From the onset of the pandemic, our University has prioritized the health and safety of our students," said UIW Athletic Director Richard Duran. "This has continued to be paramount in our athletics department decision-making and conversations with fellow Southland Conference members. We refused to rush back and spent the summer putting a plan in place to meet the NCAA recommendations well before they became mandates. We strived to do the right thing for the right reasons, and we stay true to that approach."
UIW has taken a proactive approach to ensuring the health and safety of its students and staff over the last five months. In March, it was the first Southland Conference school to close its residence halls. The Cardinals planned to return 88 student-athletes in July but following a spike in COVID-19 cases in San Antonio, the University elected to postpone the return. Additionally, UIW Athletics provided an opportunity for student-athletes to opt-out of returning this fall, without penalty, before the NCAA mandated it.
Throughout the fall, football, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country will follow a similar, but voluntary, training schedule to a typical spring offseason, including practices and weight training. Spring sports that traditionally have fall competition – such as baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis – will also hold optional practices and weight training but will not play against outside competition. UIW’s winter sports, including indoor track and field, men’s and women’s basketball, synchronized swimming, fencing and swimming and diving, will proceed unless the NCAA and the Southland Conference determines otherwise.
"This fall, we will be providing our student-athletes the opportunity to train and physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for the spring," said Duran. "We will continue to meet all NCAA and Southland Conference expectations while supporting our student-athletes to the best of our ability. We will take full advantage of this fall and will be prepared for a possible spring season. We strive to become conference champions and give our programs a chance to compete in their respective NCAA tournaments."
The Southland Conference presidents approved postponing all fall conference sports competition in football, volleyball, women's soccer and cross country, with the intent to explore a conference-game schedule in the spring semester. For the full Southland Conference press release, visit southland.org.
The Western Athletic Conference (WAC), home of UIW men’s soccer, also announced today that it will suspend competition (championship and non-championship) during the 2020 fall season. Should the NCAA move the fall sport championships to the spring, the WAC will conduct the respective sports during the same time frame if feasible. For the full WAC press release, visit wacsports.com.