Author of the article:

Jim Parker  •  Windsor Star

Publishing date:

Sep 24, 2020  •   •  2 minute read

With no football or soccer season this fall, the University of Windsor completed installation of its new field turf at Alumni Field on Wednesday. Photo by Dax Melmer /jpg

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The University of Windsor’s recent decision to go mostly online for its winter semester does not preclude a return to Ontario University Athletics conference sports play for the Lancers in the second semester.

“It’s going to be a consideration in the decision making, but it’s premature to comment on what that impact will be,” Lancers’ athletic director Mike Havey said. “There are many, many layers to this.”

The university announced in May that it would hold classes online for the fall semester and it was about a month later that the OUA announced it would not hold sports until at least Jan. 1st.

“I think it’s fair to say the OUA is still considering the correct approach, but no decision has been announced,” said Havey, who is one of three athletic directors on the OUA board that made the recommendations. “It’s being discussed and the board is not holding itself to a specific timeline.”

A number of factors go into the decision such as budget impact, but also health and safety considerations. Toronto and Ottawa are both considered COVID-19 hotspots in the province and Western University in London recently had to hit pause on sports and in-person events because of concerns about the virus.

“The OUA is not prepared to take a stance at this point,” said Havey, who said the University of Windsor is still working towards a return to train guidelines for its teams.

Meanwhile, the St. Clair College Saints are also in a holding pattern awaiting a decision from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association about a possible return to sports in January.

“The OCAA put out a timeline a couple of months ago that they would take a look at winter participation in mid-to-late October for January,” said Ron Seguin, who is vice-president of international relations, campus development and student services.

“We don’t have anything as we sit here today. I think, in the college world, most schools wanted to see how enrolment turned out.”

St. Clair’s enrolment is actually up this semester, which is offering many programs online, but Seguin noted that students can still withdraw with a full refund within 10 days of the start of school year, which was Monday.

“Athletics is tied to enrolment,” Seguin said. “At St. Clair, there’s a willingness to play, if it’s safe to do so, but we need to see what the rest of the league does.”

Seguin said the school is working with the health unit on a return to training for teams and that could be finalized in the next few days.

“We hope to have it by the end of the week, but, as much as we love sports, we’re not going to put anyone in harms way,” Seguin said.

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