Decision on fall sports season looms for WIAC

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 6:27 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -With the fall sports season getting closer and closer as the summer goes on, the WIAC is expected to make a decision on the season soon. Justus Cleveland spoke to UW-Eau Claire Director of Athletics Dan Schumacher and got his thoughts on the potential for play.

“No matter how bad we want to play and play in front of fans, some of those decisions are going to be taken out of our control. That is okay. We are going to have to work with our student athletes, coaches, to adapt to that new normal with what are the rules and what is the healthiest plan we can have to have sports again. It becomes secondary when we are talking about peoples health.”

With the unknowns of this pandemic, Schumacher has had to adapt, like all of us, to the changing landscape of the disease day-to-day.

“It is the farthest from the movie “Groundhog Day”, It is the farthest from it! It’s like how much different can this day be from the last. "

Some east coast conferences in Division 3 and the Ivy League have canceled fall sports and Schumacher knows those are decisions made off current data in their region.

“That is the thing about being part of the NCAA,you are part of a membership, it’s not a dictatorship, so it is a little bit more democratic and allows the autonomy for individual institutions to be nimble and it allows conferences to make decisions as a whole. I think that is the way we are going to approach it here in the WIAC, as a total system making decisions together.”

With the positivity rate of COVID-19 on the rise, Schumacher realizes it will take effort from all involved to stop the spread of the disease.

“That is where the planning and the guidance from the medical staff is going to be key to continue on a path to play sports. Are student athletes have to listen and follow the rules, which is a difficult thing for an 18 to 22-year-old person to do and we realize that. We would be unrealistic if we didn’t realize we were going to stuggle in some of those areas with following those rules.”

And while there is great anticipation for sports to return, Schumacher knows patience is going to be key.

“There are still student athletes that are living here in Eau Claire that have not gone home for the summer and they are watching that too. There is starting to build some anxiety and some impatience, but we have to have patience and follow the rules so we can get to that point where we can compete.”

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